This very interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Regetz, Regitz, Regitt, and possibly others, is regarded as German, but strictly speaking is medieval Wendish. The Wends (now also known as the Sorbs) were (or are) a tribe that inhabited an area known as Germania Slavica. This was between the ancient cities of Berlin and Dresden and other parts. Wendish was still widely spoken in the 1930's, but today it is said there are only a few pockets of speakers, possibly because the area was largely under Communist control for many years. The surname is still recorded in Germany, and widely and increasingly in North America where today more than half of all name holders live. It is also to be found in some numbers as far away as possible - in Australia. The origination is probably from the words regie or reigar, believed to be Frankish pre 7th century and meaning 'king,' into which was later inserted the Slavonic diminutive -etz or -itz meaning small or little. As such it was a (jokey) nickname for a person known to his friends as the 'Little leader'. The eastern areas of Germany were for many centuries influenced by the Slavonic language and specifically in Russia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. There may also be an Askenasic influence, in which case the meaning is possibly different and may describe a passionate person or given the robust humour of those far off times - the reverse. Early examples of surname recordings include Anna Regeltz at Frankenthal, Pfalz, Bavaria, on April 16th 1607, Rudolph Regitz at Bretton, Baden-Baden, on April 29th 1687, and Anna Regitt, at Kastelruth, Tirol, Austria, on April 18th 1750. It must be appreciated that before 1840 mass education barely existed anywhere, and only 10% of any population could read of write with any competence. Also local dialects in all countries were 'thick', which in turn lead to all sorts of 'sounds like' spellings.
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