- This is a 15th century medieval German locational surname. Recorded in spellings such as Reilingen, Reilinger and Reiling, it originates from the town of Reilingen in the province of Mannheim, and describes in various ways an inhabitant of that town. The meaning of the town name is obscure, but the prefix "Reil" is believed to be a dialectal of either the famous personal name Relf or Rolf, hugely popular in the pre-Christian period, or possibly as an early spelling of the famous river name "Rhein". Rhein itself is now taken to mean river, and may be more specific and describe a slow moving waterway. Precise meanings of words more than one thousand years old, is always open to different interpretations. What can be said in this case is that the surname as spelt "Reilingen" refers either to a descendant of the former lords of the manor or land owners, or to some one who left the town and moved elsewhere. When this happened it was often the practice to call a person by the name of the place from whence they came. "Relinger" does however describe an inhabitant of the town, although again it maybe because he or she moved away, whilst Reiling is "tribal" and describes the people (ing) called "Reil". Early examples of the recordings taken from church records include Anton Reiling of Budberg, Rheinland, on September 1st 1551, and Jacob Reiling of Ersingen, Karlsruhe, a witness there on January 19th 1729. The earliest recording may be that of Ebald Reylinger of Rothenburg, recorded there in 1499. This was during the reign of Emperor Maximilian 1st, 1493 - 1519.
Surnames reference. 2013.