The earliest documented direct line ancestor in our Reiss family is Johann Adam Reiss, who was born about 1610 in Jockgrim, Pfalz, Germany. However, in 1530 the Bishop from Speyer requested a census of souls in Jockgrim who were under his care. This census shows that a Reiss family was living in Jockgrim at this time. Unfortunately, the Jockgrim Catholic Church records for the late 1500s no longer exist. Therefore, it is impossible for us to link to this early family.

The meaning of the name of Reiss/Ries in German can be either swamp or a giant and in German the name is pronounced as Rice.

While living in Germany, our extended Reiss family primarily lived in the greater Jockgrim area. Upon arriving in Russia, the extended family initially lived in the Kutschurgan village of Selz. However, within a short period of time a number of the extended family members moved to the city of Odessa, presumably, to secure better employment in the larger city.

The Jockgrim civil documents show that the primary occupation for the extended Reiss family during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the making of roof tiles and glass. There is evidence that a few members of the extended family were engaged in farming.

One of my biggest challenges in researching the Reiss family has been to identify my great great great grand mother Maria Eva (née Voss) Reiss. In 1808 our ancestor Joseph Reiss immigrated to Russia as a single young man. Shortly thereafter, he married Maria Eva Voss. One of a number of research complications was that some of the early translations of records from Russia provided various variants of the spelling of her name. However, the name was finally proven to be Voss. Voss is not a common name for Germans from this region. Therefore, her origin and ancestral information remain a mystery.