There are at least two alternative etymologies of the Mathia-Matthia surname. William F. Hoffman, author of “Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings” stated that the name means “kin of Matthias,” the apostle chosen to replace Judas after the Resurrection. On the other hand, Günter Mathia speculated that the Mathia – Matthia name derives from the German tribe “the Matiaker,” which settled by the Rhein and was mentioned by Tacitus. Around the 13th century the Mat(t)hia supposedly migrated and settled in eastern Europe, possibly invited by the Teutonic Order. For that reason, the Mathia-Matthia family lines are to be differentiated from lines carrying similar surnames that were exclusively derived patronymically (e.g. Mathias or Matthias).
Traditional paper trail genealogy cannot shed light onto plausibility of any of the alternative etymologies as it usually goes back only as far as the records permit. The DNA Surname Project may complement traditional genealogy by connecting or disproving connection between representatives of the Mat(t)hia surname from different geographic locations, help to search for paper trails, and in consequence go deeper into the origins of various Mat(t)hia families beyond the onset of western record keeping.