Last name: Southern

This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical or regional surname derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sutherne", southern, "the man from the south". The surname has two possible interpretations; firstly, it may be a purely topographic name for someone who lived to the south of a village or settlement. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Secondly, Southern(s) may be a regional surname describing "a southern man", one who had migrated from "the south". There are a number of variant forms of the surname, ranging from Southern(s), Suthern(s) and Southorn, to Sothern, Suthren, Southan, Sudran and Sudron. Examples of the name from Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Southerns and Anne Moor, at St. Mary's, Lichfield, Staffordshire, on October 13th 1754, and the marriage of Sarah Southerns and Alexander Thomas on December 20th 1778, at St. Clement Danes, Westminster, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts three red pallets on a silver shield, over all a black bend. The Crest is a green serpent nowed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Sutherne, which was dated 1243, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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