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

Origins Available: Dutch, English, German

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

The surname Geyer 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 Geyer 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 Geyer research. Another 267 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1490, 1525, 1665, 1685, and 1743 are included under the topic Early Geyer 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 Geyer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Geyer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis Geyer, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Hans Fried Geyer, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1696

Geyer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Sebastian Geyer, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Johann Jacob Geyer, who came to Philadelphia in 1737
  • Joh Adam Geyer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1744
  • Johann Michael Geyer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1744
  • Wolf Caspar Geyer, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1749


Geyer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Gouper Geyer, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • K. C. Geyer came to Providence, Rhode Island in 1823
  • Charles Louis Geyer, aged 28, arrived in Missouri in 1840
  • Bartholomew Geyer, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1840
  • David Geyer, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844


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  • William Herbert "Bill" Geyer Jr. (1919-2004), American professional American football halfback
  • Gwynne Geyer, American opera tic soprano
  • Jacob Bowman "Rube" Geyer (1884-1962), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Georgie Anne Geyer (b. 1935), American journalist and columnist
  • Stephen Geyer (b. 1950), American songwriter
  • Henry Sheffie Geyer (1790-1859), American politician, lawyer, and soldier
  • Hermann Geyer (1882-1946), highly decorated German General der Infanterie in the Wehrmacht during World War II
  • Manfred Geyer (b. 1951), former German biathlete
  • Ludwig Geyer (1779-1821), German actor, playwright and painter
  • Thomas Geyer (b. 1991), German footballer

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmacher's Grosses Wappenbuch 35 Volumes. Germany: Bauer & Raspe. Print.
  4. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  5. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  10. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
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The Geyer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Geyer 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 January 2013 at 03:55.

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