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The Tolkien Family is a family of Saxon descent, arriving in England six generations before J.R.R. Tolkien.
The name “Tolkien” (pron.: Tol-keen; equal stress on both syllables) is believed to be of German origin; Toll-kühn: foolishly brave, or stupidly clever .
The Tolkien family originated in the East Prussian town Kreuzburg near Königsberg, where the Tolkien name is attested since the 16th century. The verified paternal line of J. R. R. Tolkien starts with Michel Tolkien, who was born around 1620 in Kreuzburg. Michel's son Christianus Tolkien (1663-1746) was a wealthy miller in Kreuzburg. His son Christian Tolkien (1706-1791) moved from Kreuzburg to nearby Danzig, and his two sons Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien (1747-1813) and Johann (later known as John) Benjamin Tolkien (1752-1819) emigrated to London in the 1770s, and became the ancestors of the English family. The family first appears in English records in 1777. In 1792 John Benjamin Tolkien and William Gravell took over the Erdley Norton manufacture in London, which from then on sold clocks and watches under the name Gravell & Tolkien. Daniel Gottlieb obtained British citizenship in 1794, but John Benjamin apparently never became a British citizen. Their German nephew Daniel Gottlieb Bergmann also joined them in London. Johann (John) Benjamin Tolkien, who died in London in 1819, had a son named George Tolkien, who was the grandfather of Arthur Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien's own father.