Recorded in many spelling forms including Heis, Hiess, Heiss, Hiss, Hise, Heisman, Hiezmann, Hiseman, and Hitzmann, this is a German - Austrian form of a surname of great antiquity. However spelt the origination is the same, being usually an aphetic or nickname form of Mathius, itself a derivative of the personal name Matthew, meaning "A gift of God". The personal name was first introduced by the returning Crusaders of the 11th and 12th centuries. It became the fashion for these soldiers or pilgrims to give their children biblical names in honour of the father's achievements. The fact that twelve attempts to free the Holy Land failed, seems to have increased rather than diminished enthusiasm for the 'new' personal names and the later surnames. The popularity of the name Matthew was such that over three hundred and fifty variant forms, ranging from the Polish "Matys", to the English "Matten", and the Swedish "Madsen, have been recorded. Examples of the early surname recordings taken from German church registers dating back to post medieval times include: Appolonia Hitzman, of Neckarkries, Wuerttemburg, christened there on November 12th 1609, Anton Hizman, of Freiburg, Baden, born there on June 10th 1669, and Andreas Hiess, who married Maria Himmelbauer at Markersdorf, Niederoesterreich, on January 28th 1691. Other later recordings include Anna Margarete Hissman at Brachwede, Westfalen, on March 9th 1806, and Anton Hiseman, who married Maria Ann Dildrop, on September 28th 1854, at St Barthomews church, Ahlen, Westfalen. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is probably that of Johannes Heyse, which was dated 1297, in the "City Rolls" of Rostock, Germany. This was during the reign of Emperor Adolph 1st of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, 1292 - 1298. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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