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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the German Risner family come from? What is the German Risner family crest and coat of arms? When did the Risner family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Risner family history?

Bavaria, Germany is the ancestral home of the Risner family. The Germans began using hereditary surnames in the 12th century. Risner is an occupational name, which was derived from the kind of work done by the original bearer. It is a name for a wood carver. Checking further we found the name was derived from the medieval German word ris or risle, which means branch or twig. Furthermore, there are numerous places in Germany named Reisen. There is a town called Reisen in Bavaria and a town Reissen in Thuringia.

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In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Risner include Reisner, Reisener, Reissner, Reissener, Reisne, Reisen, Reissen, Reissne, Reysner, Reyssner, Reysener, Reyssener, Risener and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the name became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied and enrolled by the princes of the region. The name may have its origin, or the family may have lent its name to the town Reisen in Bavaria and the town Reissen in Thuringia. Chronicles first mention Hanke von Reysen of Glatz in 1348, and the name Reisner is found in 1348 in Bruenn, 1386 in Kolion, and 1383 in Wuerzburg. The variation Reyssener is found in Freiberg as early as 1465. In their later history the various branches became a powers unto themselves and were elevated to the ranks of nobility as their influence grew.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Risner research. Another 255 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1653, 1752, and 1816 are included under the topic Early Risner History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 165 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Risner Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of German settlers came to North America between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries. The hardships of the long voyage were balanced by the opportunity to escape poverty and religious persecution. The descendents of these settlers still populate the states of Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many also live in Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Risner or a variant listed above:

Risner Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Tobias Risner who arrived in Maryland in 1763

Risner Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Henry Clay Risner, aged 38, who settled in Baltimore, in 1904
  • Woitech Risner, aged 42, who emigrated to the United States from Bietz, in 1907
  • Perl Risner, aged 50, who settled in America from Odessa, Russia, in 1908
  • Katarzyna Risner, aged 17, who landed in America from Dobra, Galicia, in 1910
  • Gyorgy Risner, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States from Kislonkos, Hungary, in 1911


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  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Hopeful Journeys German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  3. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  4. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  7. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  8. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  11. ...

The Risner Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Risner Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 January 2012 at 19:51.

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