Re: Origin of the name Liss #names

Peter Dreifuss

Dear Nancy and  other Jewishgeners,
Outside of the question of the geographical origin of your family, a good starting point for the origin of most Jewish names can be obtained searching the records of Beit Hafutsot.
A search for Lyss yields the following:

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. Lys is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

Lyss and Lys are spelling variants of Liss, which has links with Lissa, the German name of the village Lysa Nad Labem in central Bohemia; with Leszno, near Poznan/Posen, in western Poland, also called Lissa, where Jews lived since the 16th century; with Leipsos/Lipsos, whose Italian name is Lisso, an Aegean island in the Dodecanese, Greece; and with Lodz, the city in western Poland which the Germans call Litzmannstadt. The family names can also be related to Lis, the Polish term for "fox", applied as a nickname to cunning people and/or redheads. Yet another possible association can be made with the French meaning of Lis, for the flower "lily".
For more specific placement I recommend consulting one of the more thoroughly researched books written by Alexander Beider, such as
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire.

Pete Dreifuss
Silver Spring, MD


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