From the STRAUSS Surname Project at: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/strauss/default.aspx?section=ycolorized
The STRAUSS Clan is a large and genetically varied group of people of both Jewish and Gentile Germanic origin.
The name has been used by families in the Germanic area for at least a 1,000 years. The overlord of Gröna for example, went by the name of Struz and used the image of an Ostrich as his symbol. Examples of it could still be seen on the 1,000 year old church bell of that town. "Struz" or "Strutz" is the North-German form of the word "Strauss", which is of course the German word for an "Ostrich". A branch of that family later also built a keep at Straußberg near Sonderhausen in Thuringia .
Some of the earliest Jewish bearers of the name hailed from the Judengasse in medieval Frankfurt, where families have been known by the names of the House they inhabited. All the houses had names and these included Haus Strauss, complete with an image of an ostrich on the façade. Other famous houses that led to famous families included Haus Rothschild, Haus Wolf, Haus Schiff, etc.
When, for tax purposes, Napoleon made surnames obligatory in 1808, some more Jewish families decided to take the name Strauss or Straus.
Our Clan is therefore made up of numerous large and often well-known families who are completely unrelated to one another. Sizeable populations of these have also taken root outside of Europe in the USA, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere.
The STRAUSS Surname Project already has 11 separate STRAUSS lines, around half Jewish and half not