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

Origins Available: English, German

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

The Thiessen family name is thought to be of Norman origins. It comes from an early member of the family who was a fiesty or hot-tempered person. The name is a metaphor derived from the Old French word tison meaning fire-brand. 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.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Tyson, Tesson, Tewson, Tiuson, Tison, Dyson and many more.

First found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times, where the name originally was Tesson, one of the most powerful families in Normandy seated at Angouleme. Their history is French more than Viking and they distinguished themselves against the Saracens in 725. They were later seated at Anjou and Raoul Tesson the first Lord of Cingueleiz led 120 knights at Val-Des-Dunes in 1047. Gilbert Tesson, his brother, obtained the barony of Alnwick from King Edward the Confessor, England's Saxon King, and was killed at the Battle of Hastings, fighting on the Saxon side.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thiessen research. Another 163 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1309, 1651, 1708 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Thiessen History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 83 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thiessen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Thiessen or a variant listed above:

Thiessen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Carl Thiessen, who landed in New York, NY in 1850
  • Ludwig Thiessen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850
  • Catharine Thiessen, aged 31, landed in New York, NY in 1852
  • Frank Thiessen, aged 35, landed in New York, NY in 1874
  • Joh Thiessen, aged 60, landed in New York, NY in 1874

Thiessen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Aaron Thiessen, who arrived in Manitoba in 1875
  • Peter Thiessen, who landed in Manitoba in 1875


  • Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (b. 1974), American actress
  • Alfred H. Thiessen (b. 1872), American meteorologist, eponym of Thiessen polygons
  • Lieutenant General Duane D. Thiessen (b. 1951), American Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources
  • Brad Thiessen (b. 1986), Canadian professional ice hockey player
  • Georg Heinrich Thiessen (1914-1961), German astronomer, eponym of the lunar crater Thiessen
  • Gordon G. Thiessen OC (b. 1938), sixth Governor of the Bank of Canada from 1994 to 2001
  • James Thiessen (b. 1974), former Australian rules footballer
  • Peter Adolf Thiessen (1899-1990), German physical chemist, recipient of the Stalin Prize for contributions to the Soviet atomic bomb project
  • Vern Thiessen (b. 1964), Canadian playwright, recipient of the Governor General's Award in 2003


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  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Thiessen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thiessen 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 12 September 2013 at 11:20.

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