Last name: Sears
Most surnames have only one or possibly two sources of origin, this surname is different - it has five! These maybe summed up as (in order of likelihood), a derivative of the pre-medieval personal name 'Saher' or 'Seir', which itself is a short form of the Norman name 'Sigiheri' introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. This itself has a Germanic ancestry and loosely translates as 'victory - army'. The second possible origin is from the medieval occupational name for a wood cutter, 'sayhare', although the usual surname is now 'Sawyer'. The third is from Middle English 'say(en)' or 'seycen', to say, and literally means a professional reciter, one whose occupation was to read or recite both prose and poetry, and no doubt news and gossip as well. The fourth origin is from the medieval occupation of assaying metals or tasting food, derived from the Old French 'essay', meaning a trial or test. The correct spelling in Middle English was 'assayer', which appears to have beeb foreshortened. The plural spelling of the name is a patronymic form, meaning 'son of Sayer', whilst the variants include Sayer, Sayre, Saer, Sare, Seyer, Sear, Seares, Sears, Seer, etc. An unusual recording is that of William Sayers, who emigrated to Virginia, leaving London on the ship 'Bonaventure' in January 1634. He was therefore one of the earliest of the Colonists to America. The Coat of Arms granted in Cornwall in 1620 by James 1st, has the blazon of a gold field, charged with three gold cinquefoils on a back cotised bend. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Saer, a witness, which was dated 1204, in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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