Hermann Rittmeyer

Hermann Rittmeyer
21.01.1894 (Lichteinen ) - 01.01.1977 (Helmerkamp )

Family Rittmeyer

- Origin (History of Surname) -

Wappen Familie Rittmeyer / Rittmeier

Wappen Vers. 2
Rittmeyer / Rittmeier
Ausgabe in deutscher Sprache Edition in English

 

As the origin of the family name Rittmeier or Rittmeyer family names like Riedmayer, Riedmeier, Riethmayer und Rietmeyer as well as Rittmeister are often mentioned. In light of the research findings, the version Riedmayer, Riedmeier, Riethmayer and Rietmeyer seems a more likely version while there is no case known where the surname Rittmeier or Rittmeyer has developed from the surname Rittmeister. For the version Riedmayer, Riedmeier, Riethmayer and Rietmeyer there is at least evidence from regions / locations such as Wingerode and Steinbach (Eichsfeld in Thüringen), Memmingen (Bayern), Lüchow (Niedersachsen) and Beckum (NRW), where this name changes were detected. 

During our Family research the following variants of the family name Rittmeyer have been detected (sorted alphabetically without ranking by frequency):

"...Rethmeier, Reitemeyer, Reitmeier, Reitmeyer, Reitemeier, Retmaier, Retmeier, Retmeyer, Rettmaier, Rettmeier, Rettmeir, Ridmaier, Ridmeyer, Ridtmair, Riedmaier, Riedmair, Riedmajer, Riedmayer, Riedmayr, Riedmeier, Riedmeyer, Riedmeyr, Riedtmaier, Riedtmair, Riedtmayer, Riedtmayr, Riedtmaier, Riedtmeyer, Riethmair, Riethmayer, Riethmayr, Riethmeyer, Rietmaier, Rietmair, Rietmajer, Rietmayer, Rietmayr, Rietmeier, Rietmeyer, Rietmeyr, Riettmaier, Riettmair, Riettmayer, Riettmeyer, Rithmaier, Rithmayer, Rithmeier, Rithmeyer, Ritmeyer, Ritmeier, Rittmaier, Rittmair, Rittmayer, Rittmayr, Rittmeier, Rittmeir und Rittmeyer...."

Particularly serious are different name variants in 
Memmingen. In Memmingen, the marriage of an Oswald Rietmair from Aichstetten near Leutkirch in Württemberg was first recognized in 1566. This name variant developed among its descendants for centuries to name variants such as Ridtmair, Riedmaier, Riedmair, Riedmayer, Riedmayer, Riedmayr, Riedmeier, Riedmeyer, Riedmeyr, Riedtmaier, Riedtmair, Riedtmayer, Riedtmayr, Riedtmaier, Riethmair, Riethmayr, Riethmeyer, Rietmaier, Rietmair, Rietmajer, Rietmayer, Rietmayr, Rietmeier, Rietmeyer , Riettmaier, Riettmair, Rietmayer, Rithmaier, Rithmayer, Rithmeyer, Rittmaier, Rittmayr, and Rittmeier, before finally changing into the remaining variants of the name Riethmayer, Rittmayer and Rittmeyer.

Descendants with the name variant Riethmayer and Rittmayer remained predominantly in the region Memmingen, while the descendants with the name variant Rittmeyer
have settled over Lindau (Bodensee) in Switzerland (for example St. Gallen) and England (for example Greater London). The first entry with the surname RITTMEYER could only be ascertained on May 6, 1811 on the occasion of the birth of Elisa Regina Rittmeyer in LINDAU and RITTMAYER on 20 April 1862 on the occasion of the birth of Georg Rittmayer in MEMMINGEN.

A logic for these name changes is simply not recognizable. The reason for this is often assumed to be that the name bearers used to be frequently unable to write or read in the past. On the other hand, however, speaks that the church clerks could very well write and read. And in the present example, the church book entries were made for centuries only in one church, the Church of St. Martin in Memmingen. From this one could also draw the conclusion that the surname was deliberately varied in order to distinguish between the individual lines and branches of the families, as a rule in Memmingen all male descendants received only one first name such as Sebastian, Johann or Oswald and therefore only by varying the surname distinctions between the multitude of lines were possible.


Version 1: Family names such as 
Riedmayer, Riedmeier and Rietmeyer represent a combination out of the landscape feature "Ried" and the profession "Meier". Reeds (Ried) is aboveground vegetation (free reed) which may be found in marshes and swamps. Further, it may be a field name for clearing areas. Especially often does the name Ried occur in place names in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, in Austria and Switzerland.

The surname Meier and variants such as Meyer, Maier, Mayer and Mayr come from the latin word "Major" and designate originally an officer of noble or ecclesiastical landlords to manage the estates, from the later Middle Ages also landholder or independent farmers. The Meier operated for the landlord himself a farm, the “Fronhof”. He oversaw the serfs (villici) which operated the small farms (called Hufen or Huben) subordinated to a “Fronhof” and he conceded from the serfs the taxes for the landlord. He was in the rule responsible for the manorial jurisdiction and the Lex familiae (forced labor). In the course of this development, payments in kind were often converted by the landlord in a fixed, annual money income and the status of the Meier often changed from a land agent to a landholder. The estate was then called “Meierhof” or “Meiergut” (Kolonat). From this farm work and position designation, the surname “Meier” was constituted with ist orthographic variants.

It can be concluded that the ancestors of the Rittmeiers / Rittmeyers were landholder, who had their “Meierhof” in marshes and swamps with reeds and changed their status from selfs into independent farmers.

Version 2: The surname Rittmeister is a professional designation and is a historical grade designation for cavalry officers in Germany and Austria. The rank is equivalent to that of a captain.

The theory that perhaps in some cases the name Rittmeister could have changed by deleting the letters "st" to Rittmeier is not confirmed after the analysis of approximately 3,000 people with the surname Rittmeier or Rittmeyer. There is not one case where the surname Rittmeier or Rittmeyer has developed from the surname Rittmeister. In this case, the development of the name would also be reversed. Name variants like Rittmeyer, Rittmayer and Rittmaier would have been developed at the earliest in late middle age from the surname Rittmeister  to Rittmeier, but this was actually reversed the case. The spellings Rittmeier, Rittmeyer, Rittmayer or Rittmaier were usually a question of regional origin and occurred already in many regions before the 17th century.


Overall assessment: With this evaluation, it can be seen as certain that surnames such as RITTMEYER, RITTMEIER, RITTMAYER and RITTMAIER are a further development of the word trunks of the landscape feature "Ried" and the profession "Meier". A derivation - as often assumed - of "RITTMEISTER" can thus be definitively ruled out, since more than 5,000 documented persons did not recognize a derivative of Rittmeister.

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 (As of:06.12.2018)