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

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

The history of the Gries family name begins in the German province of Bavaria. Gries is a nickname surname, a class of German names derived from eke-names, or added names, that described people by a personal characteristic or other attribute. Gries is a name for a large person. This family name is derived from the German word gross, indicating prodigious size.


One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Gries include Gross, Grose, Groes, Grosse, Groess, Groesse and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where this family name became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times. Always prominent in social affairs, the name became an integral part of that turbulent region as it emerged to form alliances with other families within the Feudal System and the nation. Guenther Gross, founder of the Bavarian line von Trockau, appeared as early as 1097, when he fought under Gottfried von Bouillon against the infidels; after his period of service he settled in Franconia.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gries research. Another 188 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1501 and 1783 are included under the topic Early Gries History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Gries Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


European migration to North America began in the mid-17th century and continued unabated until the mid-20th. Many Bavarians made the long trip to escape poverty or persecution based on their religious beliefs. The chance for tenant farmers to own their own land was also a major drawing card. They settled all across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many came to Canada also, settling in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Griess to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Gries Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hans Jurg Gries, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753

Gries Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Albert Gries, aged 24, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1854
  • Friederike Louise Gries, aged 31, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1854
  • Friedrich Gries, aged 33, landed in Baltimore Maryland in 1854


  • Walter Friedrich Gries (1892-1959), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1952; Member of Michigan State Board of Education, 1953-59


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  1. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  6. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  7. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. Print. (ISBN 978-0806303024).
  10. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Gries Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gries 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 14 October 2015 at 09:30.

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