Show ContentsSwitzer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Switzer 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 Switzer indicates that the original bearer immigrated to Austria from Switzerland.

Early Origins of the Switzer family

The surname Switzer was 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.

Early History of the Switzer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Switzer research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1730, 1625, 1709, 1710, 1833 and 1875 are included under the topic Early Switzer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Switzer Spelling Variations

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 Switzer include Schweitzer, Schweizer, Schwitzer, Schwyzer, Switzer, Sweitzer, Schwitter and many more.

Early Notables of the Switzer family (pre 1700)

During this period prominent bearers of the name Switzer were Johann Friedrich Schweitzer (1625-1709), Dutch physician and alchemical writer of German extraction; Johann Jacob Casimir von Schweitzer, who was...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Switzer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Switzer Ranking

In the United States, the name Switzer is the 2,481st most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [1]

United States Switzer migration to the United States +

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 Switzer or a variant listed above:

Switzer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christian Switzer, aged 20, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [2]
  • Henderick Switzer, aged 25, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1743 [2]
  • Johannes Switzer, aged 24, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753 [2]
  • John Switzer, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761 [2]
  • Conrad Switzer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Switzer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Laurence Switzer, who landed in Maryland in 1800 [2]
  • Martin Switzer, aged 28, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1804 [2]
  • Simon Switzer, who landed in Mississippi in 1847 [2]
  • Henry Switzer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [2]

Canada Switzer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Switzer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Peter Switzer U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1875 was a Cutler [3]
  • Cpl. Philip Switzer U.E. (b. 1757) born in Ballingarrane, Limerick County, Ireland from New York, USA who settled in Ernest Town [Ernestown], Lennox & Addington, Ontario c. 1784, then resettled to Marysburgh [Prince Edward County], Ontario in 1796, before finally settling in Camden East, Ontario after 1830 he enlisted in 1776 serving in Loyal Rangers, Justus Sherwoods 4th Company, married to Patience Rose in 1784 having 11 children, [3]
Switzer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael Switzer who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Primrose" departing 7th April 1847 from Limerick, Ireland; the ship arrived on 18th June 1847 but he died on board [4]

Australia Switzer migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Switzer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Switzer, English convict who was convicted in Southampton, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Switzer (post 1700) +

  • Carl Dean "Alfalfa" Switzer (1927-1959), American child actor, professional dog breeder and hunting guide, best known for his role as Alfalfa in the Our Gang shorts
  • George Shirley Switzer (1915-2008), American mineralogist
  • Robert Mauck Switzer (1863-1952), U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Robert C. Switzer (1914-1997), American co-inventor along with his brother Joe Switzer of the first fluorescent paint which he called "Day-Glo"
  • Kathrine Switzer (b. 1947), American runner, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry
  • Harold Frederick Switzer (1925-1967), American child actor
  • Jon Michael Switzer (b. 1979), American Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Barry Switzer (b. 1937), American former football coach
  • Jay Switzer (1956-2018), Canadian television executive from Calgary, Alberta, longtime senior executive of CHUM Limited
  • Brigadier Thomas Deeves Switzer (b. 1885), Canadian Deputy Master-General of Ordnance, National Defence Headquarters [6]
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Albert Switzer (b. 1909), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Bethnal Green, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [7]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 97)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from
  6. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 3) Thomas Switzer. Retrieved from
  7. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook