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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The surname Geier is a nickname surname; that is, it is derived from a nickname given to the original bearer. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demi-gods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans. The surname Geier is derived from the Old German word "gir," which means "vulture." It was given to a person known for greedy, predatory ways.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Geier, Geyer, Gayer, Gaier, Gire, Gyre, Geyre, Gayre, Geyr and many more.

First found in Padeborn, in the ancient duchy of Saxony, where this family name became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times. As early as 1288 Johann Gyr appears in mediaeval feudal documents as county ruler in Warburg. As old as these documents may be, the name is also associated with families of ancient nobility in Austria and Franconia (later Hessen). Always prominent in social affairs, the name Geyer became an integral part of that turbulent region as it emerged to form alliances with other families within the Feudal System and the nation.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Geier research. Another 267 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1490, 1525, 1665, 1685, and 1743 are included under the topic Early Geier History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 39 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geier Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Geier Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anna Marie Geier, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1715
  • Henrich Geier, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Sarah Geier, aged 16, landed in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Johannes Geier, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Wolf Casper Geier, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749


Geier Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Anna Geier, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Georg Geier, aged 33, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Eva Geier, who landed in New York in 1854
  • Maria Geier, aged 35, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Christian Geier, who arrived in St Clair County, III in 1864

Geier Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Caroline Geier, aged 28, arrived in South Australia in 1847 aboard the ship "Hermann von Beckerath"
  • Christina Geier, aged 22, arrived in South Australia in 1847 aboard the ship "Hermann von Beckerath"
  • Louise Geier, aged 19, arrived in South Australia in 1847 aboard the ship "Hermann von Beckerath"
  • Wilhelm Geier, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1847 aboard the ship "Hermann von Beckerath"
  • Johann Gottfried Geier, aged 64, a farmer, arrived in South Australia in 1848 aboard the ship "Alfred"

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  • Woodrow Geier (b. 1914), American prominent journalist and professor in Tennessee
  • Philip Louis "Phil" Geier (1876-1967), American Major League Baseball outfielder who played from 1896 to 1904
  • John G. Geier (1934-2009), American psychologist and inventor of the DISC assessment systems
  • Philip H. Geier Jr., American businessman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Interpublic Group of Companies from 1980 to 2000
  • Frederick V. Geier, American founder of the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company, an American machine tool builder in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1889
  • Jens Geier (b. 1961), German politician, MEP for the Social Democratic Party of Germany since 2009
  • Oscar Arnold Geier (1882-1942), Swiss silver medalist bobsledder at the 1932 Winter Olympics
  • Sofia Landon Geier (b. 1949), Canadian Writers Guild of America Award winning and Daytime Emmy Award nominated television soap opera writer and actress, known for her work on Another World, As the World Turns and Days of Our Lives


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  1. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmacher's Grosses Wappenbuch 35 Volumes. Germany: Bauer & Raspe. Print.
  2. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  3. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial general by J. B. Rietstap 6 volumes in 3. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1976. Print.
  4. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  7. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  8. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  9. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Geier Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Geier 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 26 April 2015 at 12:11.

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