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About the study

The Hochreiter One-Name Study began informally around 1991. It was concentrated primarily on my own ancestry. But in doing so, other families emerged during research that raised questions about relationships. This curiosity led to the establishment of the Hochreiter Surname Y-DNA Project at Family Tree DNA in 2007. The DNA results show that many Hochreiter branches are not biologically related. Checks of German telephone directories show a concentration of Hochreiters in the southern areas of Germany, particularly Bavaria. A greater number of Hochreiter listings are found in Austrian directories. The objective of the Hochreiter One-Name Study is to sort out the various branches, their geographic origins, and their histories.

Variant names

Hochreiter, Hochreither, Hochreitter, Hochreuter, Hochreuther, Hochreutter, Hockreiter, Hochreutiner, Hochrütiner, Hochrüttiner, Hochrytter

Name origin

According to some sources, the surname Hochreiter is southern German. It appears that the Hochreiter name may have originated in the southern and alpine areas of Germany and Austria. Indeed, the name Hochreiter translated from German literally means “high or tall” (hoch) and “rider or horseman” (reiter). This meaning would support an occupational evolution of the name. But various surname dictionaries relate the name Hochreiter to Hochreuter. The Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, (ISBN 0-190508137-4) states that the surname “Hochreiter is from the South German: a topographic name for someone who lived on or owned a piece of high-lying cleared land, from Middle High German hohe “high” + riute “cleared land” + the agent suffix –er.” My own genealogical research shows various spellings for the same family including Hochreuter, Hochreutter, and Hochreitter.

History of the name

The name Hochreiter and its variants was not prevalent in history. But a number of people with this surname distinguished themselves in some memorable ways.
Joseph Balthasar Hochreither (Salzburg, 16 April 1669 - Salzburg, 14 December 1731) was an Austrian organist and composer. He was an organist and choir director at the Lambach monastery in 1694. After 25 years at Lambach, he left to become an organist in the Salzburg Court chapel. One of his compositions, Requiem; Missa Jubilus sacer, is still performed today in Salzburg. His earlier work of the 18th century anticipated the musical language of the Viennese classicism.
Hungarian Noble Family
A family of Hochreiters who lived between the borders of Austria and Hungary rose to prominence. In 1730 there was a settlement called Drnj where the Hochenreiters lived. Later they shortened their name to Hochreiter. They were an industrial family and owners of the salt factory in Drnj. The director of this factory in 1730 was Mathias Hochreiter and later his brother George Hochreiter in 1738. Another brother, Joseph, married the daughter of a prominent General and became a large landowner. In 1753 Empress Maria Theresa of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire bestowed the title of nobility on Joseph, George, and Mathias Hochreiter. Their Coat of Arms is recorded in Siebmacher’s Wappenbuch as follows:

Wappen: In B. auf gr. Boden ein g. Löwe, in d. erhobenen Rechten einen Krummsäbel mit g. Parirstange haltend, dessen Spitze durch d. Hals eines vom Rumpfe getrennten, mit w. Turban sammt r. Kappe versehenen, schnurrbärtigen Türkenschädels gestossen erscheint. – Kleinod: # Adler, d. Hals v. rechts oberhalb durchbohrt v. einem geflitschten Pfeile. – Decken: bg. Adels- u. Wappenbrief v. König Maria Theresia, d. d. 1753 für Josef, Georg v. Mathias Hochreiter. Es bekleiden noch in d. ersten Decennien, sowie gegen Mitte dieses Jahrhunderts, mehrere dieses Namens, öffentliche Aemter im Lande.
(L. R. Nr. 43 Fol. 118. – Marsovszky, Mscr. im National-Museum BPesth. – Siehe auch
N. J. V. 121).

Joseph’s grandson, Ambrus became a notable leader in the city of Kaposvár, Hungary. He was head of civil servants between 1851 – 1854, served as county executive, and became the county judicial chairman of Kaposvár in 1854.
Settlers in the New World
The earliest possible relative in America discovered by this researcher is the Reverend John Jacob Hochreutiner who died 13 October 1748 in Philadelphia, PA. He was buried in the German Reformed Church cemetery in Philadelphia (now Franklin Square but removed to the West Laurel Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA in 1981. He is listed in the book The Fathers of the German Reformed Church in Europe and America, Volume 2 by Henry Harbaugh, Daniel and Yost Heisler.
Another early arrival was Georg Hochreitter, who was recorded in Philadelphia, PA in 1754 in the book, A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776 by Daniel Rupp . This book contains a variety of lists of names of early Pennsylvania immigrants, primarily those with German, French, Swiss and Dutch descent.
The first recorded female was Margarete Hochreither who arrived in 1766 (Port uncertain). She is listed in th book Auswanderungen aus Rheinpfalz und Saarland im 18. Jahrhundert (Emigration from the Rhenish Palatinate and the Saarland in the 18th century), by Werner Hacker, Stuttgart, Germany: Konrad Theiss Verlag, Villastrasse 11, W-7000 Stuttgart, 1987. 797 pages. Also listed in this book are Jacob Hochreuter arriving in 1786 to an unknown port and Anna Maria Hochreuter in 1787 to an uncertain port. Another book by Werner Hacker titled Eighteenth Century Register of Emigrants from Southwest Germany to America and Other Countries. (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1994. 516p) lists Balthasar Hochreuther arriving in 1786.
A well-documented immigrant and settler was Bartholomew Hochreiter who was born about 1788 in Bavaria, Germany and immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1814. A number of good sources exist that trace his movement across the growing frontiers of America. He settled for a while in Ohio with a Land Grant of xx acres. The census records trace him in various locations as he moved west. He finally settled in Henry County, Iowa where he is recorded as the first settler in 1836. His family became prominent citizens with profiles in county histories.
Swiss botanist
Bénédict Pierre Georges Hochreutiner (1873-1959) was a Swiss botanist and plant taxonomist.

Name frequency

The frequency of the surname Hochreiter and its variants can be generally gauged by using such resource tools as genealogical databases at or, online telephone books, and general web searches on Google or Bing. The following are examples of these methods.
The results compiled on illustrate the predominance of the spelling Hochreiter in comparison to other variants:
Hochreiter, (9,215)
Hochreuter, (751)
Hochreuther, (653)
Hochreither, (254)
Hockreiter (243)
Hochreitter, (107)
Hochreutener (50)
Hochreutter, (49)
Hochreutiner (44)
Hochrütiner (1)
Hochrytter (1)
The results from searches of online telephone directories are displayed in the Distribution section below to show location as well as numbers. A less scientific approach is a search on This method provided the following results:
Hochreiter, (395,000)
Hochreuter, (46,600)
Hochreuther, (81,900)
Hochreither, (24,700)
Hockreiter (796)
Hochreitter, (595,000)
Hochreutener (165,000)
Hochreutter, (409)
Hochreutiner (30,700)
Hochrütiner (2,900)
Hochrytter (8)
More focused research is planned with specific documents such as census, immigration and vital records to glean more accurate data.

Distribution of the name

Reflecting its Germanic roots, the predominant distribution of the Hochreiter surname and its variants occur in the southern and alpine areas of Germany and Upper Austria.  The following table came from on-line telephone books listed in

Country Hochreiter Hochreuter Hochreither Hochreuther Hochreitter Hochreutter
Germany 240 54 35 100 275 154
Austria 602 2 20 0 0 0
Switzerland 9 50 0 3 0 0
USA 98 0 11 0 0 0
Canada 9 0 0 2 0 0
Total 958 106 66 105 275 154

A useful site to explore the distribution of German surnames is This site allows you to search by surname for the location of families on a map.

In Germany there are 277 phone book entries with the surname Hochreiter and approximately 738 persons with this name. They live in 74 cities and counties. Most occurrences are in Traunstein (43), Munich (25), Südwestpfalz (20) Mühldorf am Inn (18), Altötting (8), Landshut (8), Berchtesgaden (7), Trier (7), Rosenheim (7) and Ansbach (7).

In Austria there are 461 phone book entries with the surname Hochreiter and approximately 631 persons with this name. It is the 517th most frequent name in Austria. They live in 46 cities and towns. Most occurrences are in Urfahr-Umgebung, (72), Linz (59) Vienna (43), Perg (34), St. Pölten - country (29), Mürzzuschlag (25), Lilienfeld (24), Vöcklabruck (21), Amstetten (15) and Linz-Land (10).

In Germany there are 43 phone book entries with the surname Hochreither and approximately 114 persons with this name. They live in 14 cities and counties. Most occurrences are in Südwestpfalz (11). Speyer (9), Saarlouis (5), Pirmasens (4), Neustadt an der Waldnaab (2), Kusel (2) Berlin (2), Aschaffenburg (2), Gotha (1) and Rottweil (1)

In Austria there are 16 phone book entries with the surname Hochreither and approximately 21 persons with this name. They live in four cities and towns. Most occurrences are in Urfahr-Umgebung (13), Grieskirchen (1), Perg (1), and Rohrbach (1).

In Germany there are 54 phone book entries with the surname Hochreuter and approximately 144 persons with this name. They live in 30 cities and counties. Most are in Ansbach (6), Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim (4), Fürstenfeldbruck (4), Ansbach (4) Munich (3), Südwestpfalz (3), Bonn (3), Wuppertal (2) Saarbruecken (2) and Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (2).

In Germany there are 115 phone book entries with the surname Hochreuther and approximately 306 persons with this name. They live in 38 cities and counties. Most occurrences are in Ansbach (26), Nuremberg (14), Roth (7), Ansbach (6), Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen (5), Nürnberger Land (5), Stuttgart (5), Kassel (3), Neustadt an der aisch-Bad Windsheim (3) and Ostalbkreis (3).

It was estimated by one study in 1996 that there were about 200 Hochreiter households in the United States. The Hochreiter name at that time appeared in telephone books in 25 states. The most frequent listings were in New York and Pennsylvania. Worldwide, the most households were listed in Austria (641) and Germany (252). Additionally, there were listings in Canada (13), Australia (6), Switzerland (3), and South Africa (4).
My own study taken from on-line telephone directories in 2007-8 revealed different numbers. The results were as follows: United States (135), Canada (10), Belgium (1), Switzerland (6), Denmark (1), South Africa (3), Australia (2), Italy (2), Netherlands (1), Slovakia (2) and Hungary (2). The most listings were in Germany (284) and Austria (690). Recently 6 listings were found in telephone books for Brazil. This represents a good indication of the current distribution and populations of Hochreiter households around the world. It is not a definitive or complete survey since it only focused on the surname Hochreiter and not any of the variants.


Data has been collected from various sources including on-line telephone books (, records stored on genealogical websites and databases (,, etc.), and research at repositories and archives (NARA, Library of Congress, etc.). These resources are prone to changes, updates, errors and omissions, which prevent accurate or conclusive data evaluation. Nevertheless, the data affords an opportunity to make general suppositions about the distribution and frequency of the Hochreiter surname and variants. There is some evidence that the Hochreiter surname evolved from earlier spellings. But it is not known whether these variants share common roots or evolved separately. The effort is ongoing to decipher the origins and numbers of various branches. DNA testing as well as continued document and records research is needed to help sort out these obscurities.


The Hochreiter Surname Y-DNA Project began in June 2007 after the Project Administrator transferred and upgraded his DNA results from the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project to Family Tree DNA. He subsequently recruited two known relatives (2nd cousins) to provide DNA samples for the project. Together, their 37-marker DNA tests provided an initial baseline for the project. All three original participants descend from Hochreiter males who were born in Moosbach, Bavaria, Germany. Their results show that they belong to Haplogroup E-L142 (E1b1 under the old naming convention).
An effort was made to attract diverse participants across the USA and Europe. The Project has expanded and now includes 15 Hochreiter participants. Geographic dispersal of participants now covers the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, as well as internationally, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and South Africa. The test results revealed different Haplogroups than the original three participants. The other participants belong to Haplogroup R (R1b1 and R1a) and Haplogroup N. These new results show that there is not a genealogical relationship between the original participants and the new ones. Males from entirely different Haplogroups do not share a common ancestor in a genealogical sense. This DNA difference suggests that various branches of Hochreiter families developed in different areas in Europe. Additional DNA samples from other participants are needed to prove or disprove this concept. Participants with variant spellings are also needed to study the relationship between these families and perhaps the evolution of the surname.

  Kit Number Current Residence Ancestor Name Country of Ancestry Haplogroup
1 249343 Texas   Germany R-M269
2 102815 Pennsylvania   Unknown R-M269
3 131169 Tennessee   Unknown R-M269
4 106434 Hungary   Hungary R-P312
5 118899 Slovakia   Slovakia R-M269
6 131168 Pennsylvania   Unknown R-P312
7 96933 New York Johann Hochreutter b: 1654 Germany E-L142
8 131761 Pennsylvania Johann Baptist Hochreiter b: 1828 Germany E-L142
9 96932 New York Johann Hochreutter b: 1654 Germany E-L142
10 192972 New York Johann Hochreutter b: 1654 Germany E-L142
11 134823 New York Johann Baptist Hochreiter b: 1828 Germany E-L142
12 N45041 Maryland Johann Hochreutter b: 1654 Germany E-L142
13 131167 New York Johann Hochreutter b: 1654 Germany E-L142
14 110994 South Africa   Austria R-L260
15 240400 Germany Franz Peter Hochreiter b 1912 Germany N-M178