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History of the Wissinger Surname


Surname Origin

The earliest discovery made by Dr. Donald O. Wissinger relating to the origin of the Wissinger surname spelling was found on old Roman maps of about the year A.D. 350; an area along the Danube river in southern Europe designated at the "ing" or "ingen" area. This area along the Danube river was later termed Swabia or Suabia (German-Schwaben; Latin - Suevia), a medieval duchy in southern Europe. It took its name from the Suevi, by which the Germanic people of the Alamanni who occupied southern Europe in the 3rd century were also known. The total region occupied later by the Alamanni embraced western Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Alsace and a great part of Switzerland. In the 3rd century the Alamanni was a confederacy of Germanic tribes inhabiting the region (Alamania) between the Main and the Danube Rivers. The so-called Germanic tribes originated as the western movement of people occurred from the east. Their earliest forefathers probably descended from Japheth, the youngest of the three sons of Noah. Japheths's sons are named in Genesis 10:2; and their names prove to be those of Indo-European peoples inhabiting western Asia and parts of Europe in early Old Testament times (2349 B.C. - 2218 B.C.). One of Japheth's sons was Gomer. The descendants of Gomer's eldest son, Ashkenaz (Ashchenaz), seem to have been the Scythians, who, according to Jeremiah 51:27, lived in the vicinity of Mount Ararat (today's eastern Turkey). The tribes may have pushed on into Europe. In later Jewish literature the name Ashkenaz denotes the Germanic people. Also, according to history, another of the sons of Japheth was Tiras, whose descendents very likely became the Thracians of southern Europe. Almost every German historian makes German history begin with inroad into the Roman orbit of the Cimbri and Teutones (112 B.C.). The history of any Germanic tribe which at one time or another settled within the boundaries of present Germany is considered part and parcel of German history, without further questioning. Dr. Steinberg in his Short History of Germany writes, "The outstanding fact in the history of Germany is the non-existence, up to 1871, of any political unit called Germany."

From University Professor, Dr. A. Helbok, of Innsbruck, Austria, by historical settlement studies, writes, "One has the spreading of the place name of "ing(en)" to many places in connection with the establishment of Bavaria." Dr. Helbok concluded that "ing(en)" people first settled in what is now Austria, and gradually extended west. Many "ing(en)" villages were established.

From studies made at Bavaria the conclusion has been made that for Wisingen, so named, means descendant of Wiso; and that the prefixes Wis, Wiz, and Weise, are of the same origin. Wiso was probably the name of a tribal chief. Even today there exists near Augsburg the towns of Dillingen and Lauingen; near Stuttgart there is Esslingen, Geislingen and several additional "ingen" towns between Stuttgart and Ulm. North of Munich is Freising. In Switzerland near Basil is Sackingen. We also find the information "almost 30 kilometers west southwest from Weisingen, that for centuries lay next to Augsburg, lies an all Protestant area, a second Weisingen." From the Metropolitan Archives, Munich, we find recorded a document, a Will, of 28 Jan 1313 from the small Cloister of Dillengen (an extract of the original) which begins, "I Geerlach von Wissingen - - - -," and in the content of the same document reference is made to the house of Wysingen. In the Augsburg tax books in the year 1408, we find Frau Johann Wizzinger entered; her family "von Wissingen" had wandered away; but appear again with the recording of gold-smith, Wolfgang Wissinger, in Augsburg. However, at Augsburg, a line of Wolfgang Wisinger gold-smiths (1347 - 1565) is attested to by their grave markers.

It seems quite conclusive that the surname origins of the ancestors living in the "ing(en)" areas first named their villages "ingen" with a chosen prefix, a given name or other choice. These villages, for our family genealogical purposes, became the origin for our surname Wissinger with variations in surname spelling. Family members from the respective villages were identified by given names and as being from (von) a certain village; i.e., Gerlock von Wisingen. Later the German "von" meaning "from" was dropped, in some families, and the surname ending became "er" for "en." There exists a marked variation in surname spelling over the centuries, and continues today within the same family lines. In old documents and records in the "ingen" areas one finds the surnames Weisingen, Wisingen, Wysingen, Wizzingen, Wissingen, Weissinger, Weisiger, Weisinger, Weising, Wising, and others. When one considers the historical custom of the early period, that the ability to read and write was frowned upon as beneath the dignity of the upper classes; while few of the lower classes had an opportunity to learn to read and write, it seems quite probable that phonetics came into play, surnames were spelled and written as they sounded to the one who had to write the surname on some document. Not so long ago many of our ancestors signed legal documents with their mark an "X" which was duly witnessed.

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Early Direct Line of Wissinger Families

There lived at Augsburg a line of goldsmiths named, in each succeeding generation, by the name Wolfgang Wisinger from A.D. 1347 to 1565. The record stating that the last of the Wolfgangs at Augsburg, a son of Maxentias, who also had a son Wolfgang, who disappeared from Augsburg. Apparently the Augsburg Wolfgang goldsmiths came to an end. However, the last Wolfgang Wisinger may have departed Augsburg only to settle some 30 kilometers north of Augsburg where we pick up the line beginning with George Wolfgang Wissinger at Mittelramstadt. Georg Wolfgang Wissinger, born in 1613, may have been a son or grandson of the Wolfgang Wisinger who disappeared from Augsburg after 1565. Further research may establish this direct line. The goldsmith gravestone markers at Augsburg have the same Coats-of-Arms as the families at Munich. Whether Maxentia Wisinger went to Verwandten, to Regensburg (Hillmairin) or with his sister, Susanna, to Wein is not known. Susanna had a son, the world famous sculptor, Hans Daucher, whose works may be found at Berlin and Augsburg. Thus it seems possible that the Wissinger and families with similar surname spellings have their origins in the Munich-Augsburg area and that the Wissinger direct line of ancestors were the line of goldsmiths named Wolfgang Wisinger who lived at Augsburg.

By Donald O. Wissinger, 1976

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Varied Surname Spelling in Germany

The following family members discovered in early records discovered in southern Germany are enumerated here, as follows, demonstrating the varied surname spellings previously referred to. Please note in the case of Weiler Weisinger, year 1356, the varied spelling of his surname. Note also the family Gerloch Von Wissingen, in year 1439.

1135 Jsinrich de Wisengin
1145 Chounradus de Wizzingin
1221 Heinrich Wizzinger, died before 1221.
1225 Pope Honorius III, in a Bull, designated that the Kloster Elchingen be located at Weissingen. Weissingen in that century was closely associated with Augsburg. It lay in 1895 west-southwest from Riedheim and had but 61 inhabitants.
1227 Oct 17, Count Hartman von Wisingen, a witness.
1298 Hainrich Wizzinger, also spelled Hainrich Wysinger, same person, City Maintenance Manager of Augsburg. Had a son by same name, Hainrich Wysinger, who served as witness to documents at Augsburg.
1299 Hch. Wizzinger, Maintenance Manager at Augsburg.
1309 Ber. von Weisingen - listed in oldest Augsburg Mayors' book. Became Mayor, also a county estate owner.
1313 Gerlach von Wizzingen
1320 Ber. de Wissingen, Mayor of Augsburg.
1321 Wissinger - City Maintenance Family, Munich.
1347-1565 Wolfgang Wisinger - grave markers, "the oldest of the round grave-markers of the Augsburg goldsmiths." Apparently a family line of goldsmiths all named Wolfgang Wisinger. The last of the line, also named Wolfgang, was reported to have "wandered away." The goldsmith grave markers at Augsburg have the same Coats-of-Arms as the Munich families.
1356 Weiler Weisingen of Augsburg also recorded on documents as Wizzingen, Wysingen, Weizzingen and Wisingen. One and the same person.
1356 Arnoldo de Wizzingen and Eberhard von Wizzingen - both extensive land holders in areas of Augsburg and Ekjusburg.
1363 Gerlach von Wizzingen, Augsburg; traveled to city of Strassburg.
1363 Gerlach von Wizzingen also listed under Deeds and Coats-of-Arms.
1371-1386 Stephan Wisinger (Wysinger) of Pasenbach, near Indersdorf and Freiling, just north of Munich.
1395 Andreas Wissinger, Presbyter, of Diocese Regensburg.
1408 Johann Wizzinger and Frau entered in Augsburg tax records.
1412 Wisinger family, owners of lodging place on highway from Augsburg to Neuberg.
1436 Gerlach von Wissengen, Augsburg.
1439 Gerlach von Wissengen, Augsburg, his wives Ursula von Riethain and Margareth von Sunthain and 5 children: Ulrich von Grafebegk, Katharina von Wissingen, Gerlock von Wissingen, Margaretha Durlacher, and Ursula von Grateregt.
1470 Weissingers found at Augsburg.
1528 Maxentia Wisingerin, goldsmith and his sister, Susanna, of Augsburg, recorded. This seems to be of the same line as recorded under 1347-1565 above, of the Wolfgang Wisinger family line.
1559 Wolfgang Wissinger, one of Master Goldsmiths, "his coat-of-arms is that of the famous (Della Scala) Scaliger, the last of which died in 1598."
1562 Nov 16. Wolfgang Wyssingers of Augsburg transferred gold to Cisimus Spitzmacher.

Research compiled by Dr. Donald O.Wissinger, 1976

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Wysong: Americanized version of Weisang/Weissang

"Wysong: Americanized version of Weisang/Weissang. Weisang/Weissang: Germanized version of the French name Vincent/Vinzent. In the late 1550's a noble family of Nimes, France named Vincent/Vinzent was nearly wiped out by King Henry II. Two sons escaped. Once went to Interlake, Switzerland. The last of that family died in 1976. The other Vincent went to Durlock, Germany, under the protection of the Margrave of Durlock (Durlock is now a suburb of Karlsruhe, Germany). The son who went to Germany was Joseph Pier Vincent and his name became Joseph Peter Weissang. The Weissang family split during the Thirty Years War -- some were Lutheran and some were Catholic. The Catholic branch wound up in what is now Saarland, Germany."

Source: Bill Mackey, from WorldConnect

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