This is an interesting American variant form of the medieval Germanic surnames Nies, Nieser, and Niesller. However spelt all derive from the Ancient Greek personal name 'Dionysus' meaning 'Keeper of wine'. The American versions include Nicely, Nissle, Nussle, Nusslin, and Nuzzle, and these were first recorded in the USA in the 19th century. American spellings are a major feature of many surnames and last names, and were often a creation at the ports of entry for immigrants, Ellis Island, New York, being the most famous example. Here immigrants from all over the world, many of whom could neither read nor write in any language, would have their name 'registered', and depending on the official's ability would depend how near the new anglicised 'sounds like' surname was to the original name! Often they were unrecognizeable! Another method of creating a surname for an immigrant was to find a person's skill. This helps to explain the popularity of surnames such as Smith, Carpenter and Shoemaker, being popular occupations. Dionysus was very popular in Europe in ancient times, and widely used as a first name or surname in England and France as Denis or Dennis. The first known German recording of the name is that of Nies zu Freiburg, in the year 1284. A coat of arms was granted to Nies of Guedre, in Holland, having the blazon of a gold field charged with a hawks claw. The date is probably about 1700 but this is not known.
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