Recorded in various spellings including Keyser, Cayser, Kaysor, Caysor, Cayzer, and Cassar, this very unusual name is English. It is however a development of the early Germanic name and word "Kaiser", itself derived from the Roman imperial title "Caesar", which was originally a family name. Folk etymology in classical times associated the name with the latin word "caesaries", meaning a head of hair, but the orgin is probably Etruscan and possibly a version of the later "Charles". Since Julias Caesar, the word has been adopted as a generic title for imperial rulers. The surname was probably used first as a nickname, perhaps for someone with an imperious manner, or it may have referred to someone who had played the part of an emperor in a play or pageant. Eitherway it has been recorded for at least eight centuries, making it one of the oldest surnames on record. Early examples taken from the church records of the post medieval period include: Henry le Caisere, in thePipe Rolls of Warwickshire, in 1172, Samson le Cayser in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1273, Anne Caser, christened at St. Mary's church, Stoke Newington, on January 19th 1566, Robert Cayser, who married Sarah Ambridge at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, on July 1st 1706, and Elizabeth Cassar, who married John Bartholomew at Christ Church, Spitalfields, city of London, on July 30th 1785. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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