Katzer Families

The name "Katzer" ...    (Information on the distribution of the name "Katzer" in Germany is available here)

...is not derived from "Katze" (i.e. "cat") although that is how the Katzer family worldbook by Halbert's Family Heritage Inc. explains it. We rather believe that the name is derived from "Ketzer" ("a heretic"). This is also confirmed in the Middle German linguistic handbook (Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch) by Matthias Lexer. We have also been told that the Czech language has the word "kacir" to describe someone who is a heretic. This was confirmed by the Czech fellow students of Professor Georg Katzer, who once studied in Prague for some time. Another interesting aspect in this context is the meaning of the Czech place name of "Kraliky" (the former "Grulich"), which appears to be the cradle of the Katzer families.

Franz Gerhard Soural told us that his late aunt had mentioned in her family chronicle that the Czechs spelled the name "Kadcera"

Another interesting explanation is the alteration of vowel sound from "e" to "a", which was quite common in the Silesian dialect (e.g.das Herz = doas Harze or Klecks = Klacks). It would make the change from "Ketzer" to "Katzer" very likely

According to the German Brockhaus Encyclopedia the word "Ketzer" has developed from the term "Katharer" (i.e. Catharist). It referred to a heretic who had diverged from the Catholic doctrine.
Cathari (Greek: "the pure ones") was the name of a religious movement invading Europe from the Balkans at the beginning of the 12th century. They quickly found supporters in the Rhineland, Northern and Southern France, England and Northern Italy. Not much later the church initiated counteractions that lead to bloody persecutions of the Cathari. "Ketzer" may, of course, also refer to any outragous person. Katzers have obviously never been well adapted people.

The theory of the name relationship ' Ketzer-Katzer' is also supported by a report in the historic chronicle "Neue Kronik von Böhmen" dated 1780 (page 116): Neue Kronik von BöhmenThe complete chronicle can be read in Google Books. The Book is only available in German, though.

A German dictionary of family names (Duden der Familiennamen) offers additional explanations:

The same dictionary also mentions several derivations of the initial part of the name: "Katz":