Last name: Silver

Recorded in many forms including Silber, Silbermann, Silver, Silvers, Silverman, Silvermann, Zylberman, Zylberdik, and Silversmid, this surname is mainly English, Scottish, German, and Hebrew. Of pre 7th century origins, it has at least three distinct possible sources. Firstly it may be a metonymic occupational name for a silversmith, the derivation being from the Anglo-Saxon word "seolfar" meaning silver. Secondly it may originate as a nickname for a rich man, one who had a lot of silver, thirdly it may be locational from places on watersides where the water itself gave a silvery appearance. Examples of these places include the village of Silverley in Cumbria or Silverdale in Lancashire. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Radolfus Silberer of Oberschwaben, Germany, in 1249, whilst Thomas atte Selure, and Thomas del Silvere were both recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Worcestershire in 1327 and 1332 respectively. James Silvir was a witness of the Great Seal of Scotland in 1497, and William Silver de Stobo was a charter witness in 1506. Tradition holds that the surname Silver inscribed on a tomb in the Calton cemetery, Edinburgh, suggested to Robert Louis Stevenson the name of Long John Silver in the famous book "Treasure Island". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lucas Siluer, which was dated 1205, in the "Book of Seals" for Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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