Reiss is a surname of Old German origin, and was most commonly used by Ashkenazic Jewish people as a metonymic occupational name for a dealer in rice (Yiddish רײַז), or as an ornamental name from the Old High German word Reis ‘twig,’ ‘branch.’
Reiss (often written with the German letter ß (or sharp-s) is mostly originated in Austria and South Germany. The south German or Austrian Reiss is a leftover of a profession name Reußhäusler which could best be translated to maker of charcoal from wood in English. Members of this profession usually have been free residents (in the meaning of not enslaved and not belonging to a Duke or King) and got very early the right to carry a weapon (axe) and a uniform like dress, comparable to miners.
Another source for the name Reiss - originated mostly from the County of Hessen (Frankfurth/Main) area is a Jewish name. Some Ancestral historians write it could come from a dealer in rice or from the profession of a water gate operator, or a fish basket fis