This is one of the earliest of all recorded German hereditary surnames. Similar to the English surname 'Cross', it describes either a person who lived by a market cross, or perhaps the boundary of the local parish, town or county, which was often marked by a cross. Sometimes the name may describe an actor or layman, one who carried a cross in the popular religious festivals of the medieval period, or who may have played the part of Jesus, thereby leaving his mark on the local community of seven hundred years ago. The surname is recorded in a wide variety of spellings including Cratzer, Kratzer, Kreuz, Kreutzer, Kreuzer, Kreuziger, and many others. Examples of the surname recording taken from German and American registers include Valentin Kreuzer of Donaukreis, Wuerttemburg, on August 31st 1578, Walpurgis Kreutzer of Pfalz, Bayern, on September 1st 1633, and Hannah Cratzer of Tohickon, New York, on August 28th 1760. This may be the first recording of the surname in America, and pre-dates independence. Lastly on June 19th 1803, Elizabet Kreuzer was recorded at Rehresburg, New York. Not surprisingly the coat of arms has the blazon of a silver cross on a blue field, surmounted by a new moon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bercht dictus Crucer which was dated 1290, the city charters of Tuttlingen, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf 1st, of the German Empire, 1273 - 1291. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.