The first person with the surname Piez of whom we are aware is Franz (Franciscus) Piez who was born in 1797 in Heusenstamm, Germany. He and his wife lived in Mainz and had twelve children. The oldest son, Jacob, baptized Petrus Jacobus, emigrated to the US in 1854 at age 21, residing in Newark NJ (which had a significant German population at the time). He was naturalized in 1859. He was a brewer in both Germany and the US (Koehler Beer). He was joined some time later by a younger brother Heinrich (Henry), a cooper. Henry was a widower perhaps with children left in Germany but no descendants in the US. Jacob was married in Germany about 1861 and had nine children. Since all but the last were born in Germany, he must have returned to Germany after naturalization in the US. Possibly he traveled back and forth several times, a not uncommon practice at the time.
The family of Jacob Piez must then have come to the US about 1875, where his last child was born. We have prospered moderately, there being about 30 family members in the sixth generation after Jacob. There are several MDs and PhDs, a major league baseball player, a popular professor with a building named after him at NY State University, Oswego, NY, and at least one captain of industry among them. A picture of the industrialist, Charles Piez (son of Jacob), is shown on this page.
The surname Piez (pronounced pea-s) is unusual in the US. In some records the spelling is Pietz (pronounced peat-z). However, there are at least two other unrelated families in the US with the same surname. Both are transliterations, one from the spanish Paez and the other from a longer Eastern European name (pronounced pie-ez and pie-s, respectively). Records are sometimes confusing. The given name Carl or Karl recurs several times in the German, Australian and US families; there is also more than one Anton (often a middle name).
An Australian branch of the family was founded by Carl Piez, a grandson of Franz and a nephew of Jacob, baptized Carolus, who emigrated from Germany to Australia about 1900. We know very little about him; the Piez family in Australia is about as large as the Piez family in the US.
There are of course Piezes in Germany, from whom we have confirmation that ties the US and Australian branches to the German branch, all descended from Franz Piez. We have fairly complete descendant trees for the US and Australian branches of the Piez family and limited data for the German branch. For US Piezes, we also have matrilinear trees going back to the Revolutionary War and before. We will be pleased to share these data with other family members or others with an academic (noncommercial) interest. We will also be glad to receive corrections and additions.
Piez family members and relations are invited to contact us with more information or to learn more about our connections.
Please let us know if you have important additions to this list (or if you are one)!
In Greek, "piezein" (πιεζειν) means "to press", as in "piezoelectricity" (electricity created by pressure).
Page last edited by Wendell Piez, 2008