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The Deis surname is most common in Switzerland, southern Germany, and the Alsace region of France.   It is thought to have originated as a nickname for Matthew.   In German Matthäus  >  'Theus > pronounced like "Tice" > Theiss > Deis > Deiss.  My family is Swiss, and in Switzerland citizenship is given town by town, so everyone has a "Heimatort" or home place where their ancestors came from.  The Deiss (it is now spelled there with a double s) family is unusual in that there is one main Heimatort for every Deiss in Switzerland, a small town in Canton Aargau called Herznach.  This makes me think that there was one original family and every Swiss Deiss is a cousin, presumably with the same Y chromosome and the same male line.

Furthermore, I have had some preliminary testing done and it appears that my Y haplogroup is G2a.  This is a rather rare haplogroup in that part of Europe, and I find it interesting that it matches Ötzi the Ice Man.  Ötzi was found on the border between northern Italy and the Austrian Tyrol, not far at all from Switzerland.  He died 5,300 years ago and was covered by ice which kept his DNA fresh and his body intact.  In my imagination I see my ancestors as Ötzi's cousins who were living in the Alps before the waves of immigration by Celtic tribes (the Helvetii) and the Allemani (Germans) etc.  They have "always" been there and they are there today.  Well, Switzerland was covered with glaciers for quite a while but when the glaciers receded, we showed up.

I suppose it is not impossible that ALL Deiss families are linked -- but I consider that unlikely.  I am hoping that we can get Deis members from all different families and answer that question.  One famous Deis is Carl Deis who was a music editor for Schirmer.  If you took piano lessons you might have seen his name on the yellow covers of the music.  His ancestry was German, so not related.  Marcel Deiss is an Alsatian wine-maker.  The Deis name is commonly found in the USA in states where there was a lot of German immigration, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois (especially Chicago).

 

 


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