Carl Riegel and James Reigle, in their book Riegell to Riggle (Penobscot Press, 1996), traced many the families with surname Riegel and variations who settled in Pennsylvania and New York in the early 18th century, and then scattered across the U.S. They found a wide variety of ways to spell the surname, including those listed above. They focused primarily on the descendants of Mattheis Riegell (c. 1610-1672) of Rheinland-Pfalz. But they also identified several family groups of these surnames that could not be connected to that of Mattheis Riegell.
The largest of these unconnected families was that descended from Simon Riegel (1695-1750) of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Initial results of this project appear to confirm that there is in fact no connection. Further information about this Riegel family can be found on the Riegel/Riggle Freundschaft Association website.
Many people with surname Riegel and variations cannot trace their ancestry to any of the documented immigrant families. The objective of the Project is to determine whether those who have not been able to make that connection are indeed descended from the one of these families, or are wholly unrelated. Further, there is hope that various branches of the known Riegel families can be identified, so those who have been unable to make a connection to it can focus their research on the the most fruitful directions.
If you are a male descendant with the surname Riegel or any variation, or a female who can gain the consent of a male descendant to be tested, you are invited to join the Project. You can do so by using the "Request to Join" link above.
While we would hope that members can share the cost by paying for their own testing, we realize there will be cases where that may not be feasible. If the cost of testing is a barrier to your participation, please contact Keith Riggle using the "Group Administrator" link at the top of this page to see if a scholarship is available.