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

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

The surname Swiss is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The surname Swiss indicates that the original bearer immigrated to Austria from Switzerland.

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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 Swiss include Schweitzer, Schweizer, Schwitzer, Schwyzer, Switzer and many more.

First found in Austria, where the name was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal society which would shape the course of European history. The name would later emerge as a noble family with great influence, particularly in the city of Frankfurt, and become noted for their involvement in social, economic and political affairs.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swiss research. Another 233 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1730, 1625, 1709, 1710, 1833 and 1875 are included under the topic Early Swiss History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 93 words(7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swiss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Swiss or a variant listed above: Christoph Schweitzer, who emigrated to either England or America in 1709; Hans Georg Schweitzer arrived in New York State between 1710-1714; Jacob Schweitzer arrived in Philadelphia in 1732.

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  1. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  2. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  3. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  4. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  5. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  6. Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Deutches Namenbuch. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolf Bonz & Comp, 1928. Print.
  7. Strassburger, Ralph B. German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Swiss Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Swiss 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 9 August 2012 at 09:05.

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