If your surname is Briese this site is for you

The Briese surname is most commonly of German origin, though it does appear in Dutch, northern French and British genealogical records. The British name appears to have a quite distinct source, being a variant of the 5th century Gaulish saint, Bricius, (other variants being Bryce, Brice and similar). The Dutch and French names may stem from the same source, but the German name has quite a different origin. It is the German phonetics of a Slavic place name, and means "birch tree" (see featured article for a detailed explanation).

For the present this site is devoted to Briese families who originate from Germany (and in the main from the old provinces of Prussia), though surnames from the other regions are being collected. It is intended as a resource for genealogical research, using both traditional and genetic studies. Eventually we hope to assemble sets of Briese family lineages based on available records from German and Prussian church and civil records and public family trees prior to the 20th century. As such this is an ongoing task and we welcome contributions from anyone who would like to share information.

Try out the new interactive place map

It is a fascinating way of seeing and exploring where people with the surname Briese lived up to and including the 19th century and where they emigrated to. Zoom in, zoom out, move the map around, choose different time slots and then select the places that interest you for more detail on the location and the Brieses who lived there. Instructions are at the bottom of the map page.

Join the DNA Project

We would also welcome anyone who is interested in participating in the Briese family DNA project. It is a way of finding out relationships between different Briese families that might not otherwise be apparent and will also show how the different families have diverged from a few strands (see featured article opposite).

In the meanwhile, feel free to browse the Briese database. Names are continually being added, so if you have any genealogical information that is not here, please contact us.

Contact Us

email imageIf you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Feature Articles

feature 1 Why is the family tree a silver birch? The meaning of the Briese name.
Read how the origin of the Briese name reflects the history, linguistics and migration patterns of German people during the middle ages.

feature 1 The Briese Surname: A Tale of Two Sources?
Examines the different origins of the Briese surname in Germany and the Flemish/ Frisian/ English speaking parts of Europe.

feature 1 Briese Family Emigration to Australia
An article on the five different Briese families in Australia, where they came from in Prussia and how they emigrated.

feature 1 The Briese Diaspora: emigration of Brieses from Prussia to the New World during the 19th Century.
A table of Briese families and individuals that emigrated to North America, South America and Australia.

feature 1Preliminary Phylogenetic Analysis of Briese Family Relationships
Shows how testing Y-DNA for STRs can show relationships between the different Briese families, even in the absence of paper records (first in a series of genetic genealogy papers)

feature 1Musings on the Convergence of Deep and Recent Genetic Genealogy in the Briese Surname Group
Looks at how testing Y-DNA for SNPs to determine haplogroups can help show relationships within the Briese lineage (second in a series of genetic genealogy papers)

feature 1Recreating Briese Surname Lineages
Uses three strands of research (STRs, SNPs and paper records) to show how different lineages of the Briese surname have evolved (third in a series of genetic genealogy papers)


Briese origins (where Briese families lived during the 16th-19th centuries)