Recorded in many forms including Weis, Weiss, Weisz, Weisse, Weissman, Weiser, Weysser, Vesiman, Vaisman, Veisser and as the prefix to "ornamental" surnames such as Weissbaum, Weissbecher, Weissburg, and many others, this is an ancient German surname. It has several possible origins. These include a nickname for a wise man or a guide, from the ancient word 'wiser', or it may be cognate with the British surname "White", and as such was originally a baptismal name of endearment for a child with fair hair or pale complexion. Another possible origin is that it was an ethnic name for a Scandanavian-Viking, in which case it may well have had a racial element since the Vikings were not always welcomed, if at all! . Another possibility for some nameholders is that it was a medieval nickname for a person with white or grey hair, at a time when to reach the age of forty was exceptional. It is not surprising that it is one of the first of all German surnames to be recorded, and arguably one of the first surnames anywhere in the world, although Erich Albus of Zurich, Switzerland in the year 968 a.d., a Latin form, would certainly not have recognised his name as being any sort of surname, it was simply as an easy description of Erich the White! In Germany Ricardus Weisse appears in the charters of Illesheim in the year 1322, Claus Wisemann is recorded in the city of Strasburg in 1333, and Cunrat der Wiser, was the Burgher of Augsburg, in 1386.
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