Listed in the English section of the International Genealogical Index under a wide range of spellings including Risen, Rissen, Rison, Risson, Reyson, Ryson, Rissoan, Reisin, Reisen, Rizon, Risien and others, this is a surname of some complexity. It would seem to have several possible origins. It may be a patronymic form of the medieval English surname Ree, which described a dweller by a river bank, or from Rey or Ray, often a nickname for somebody with "kingly" attributes. It could also be occupational from the Latin word 'rosa', or the Hebrew 'reyzn' both meaning the rose, and hence a rose grower, or it could be topographical for a person who lived at a place where wild roses grew. Another logical origin is residential for somebody who lived at a house with the sign of the rose, in the days before street numbers or names. It is also just possible that it is a form of the German and later Anglo-Saxon word "reising", which described a knight or a mounted soldier. An early example of the surname recordings taken from an authentic medieval charters is that of Hugh Rosesone, in the rolls of the county of Staffordshire in 1342. Other later examples from the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include Gilbart Rysain who was christened at the church of St Mary Magdalene, on December 8th 1567, Frauncis Ryson, a witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on August 15th 1661, and John Risen, a witness at Allhallows, London Wall, on April 18th 1675. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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