This unusual and interesting name, with the variant spellings Keer and Care, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational surname meaning a key-smith, a maker of keys. The name is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "Caegere", key-smith, from "caeg", key, with the agent suffix "er". The first recording of the name occurs in the Northumberland Pipe Rolls of 1178, as a type of personal name where one Adam filius Cheigher (meaning "Adam, son of the key-smith") is recorded. The surname development includes Richard le Kayer (1287, London), William le Keer (1303, Leicestershire) and Richard Kere (1322, Essex). The modern surname can be found as "Kear", "Keer" and "Care". One Anne Kear married Mathewe Parker on the 17th May 1567 at Christchurch, Newgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Keyere, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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