This interesting and complex surname is of pre medieval German origins. It is also recorded in both France and England in their own variations. The German spellings include Reitz, Reitze, Reichmann, Reickman, Ritz and others, with Rich, Richman, and Ritzman being Anglicised or American forms. However spelt the name was descriptive for either a 'rich man' or at least a strong one! Some researchers say that the name is a nickname for a person who was actually poor but tried to convince his friends that he was the opposite! This seems at best unlikely in the small communities of those far off times, especially when there were serious laws against wearing the wrong type of clothes. What is certain is that however spelt it derives from the ancient word 'Ric' meaning 'power' - the prefix for the first name and surname Richard, and -hard meaning brave and hardy. 'Mann' when added as a suffix to Ric was a short version of 'Fore man' or 'First man' and hence described the first person in a mean called Richard's retinue. The earliest recordings in Germany include Marquard Rizi in the town of Lindau, in the year 1276, and Conrad Rittsmann of Bebenhausen in 1281.
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