Recorded in a number of spellings including Leser, Lesor, Lesser, Leazor, Lazer, Lacer, Lesar, Leaser, Lecere, Le Sarr, Le Sieur, and Sieur, this is possibly (in England) a name of French origins. It derives from the medieval word "Sieur" , itself a short form of "Seigneur", formerly a title and still used for the Siegneur of Sark, in the Channel Islands. Sadly as a surname whilst it may have noble connotations, it is more likely to have originated as a nickname for either actors who played the part of a Seigneur in the travelling theatres of the period, or as a sarcastic nickname for somebody who gave himself the (implied) airs of a Seigneur! However the surname is also well recorded in the same spellings in Germany, and here the origin may have been different. It is suggested that the development is from the ancient descriptive word "Vorleser" meaning a lecturer or teacher, but more specifically in this case, the town crier or somebody deputed to read the news in public. Another suggestion is that it is a short form of the Hebrew name Lazarus, a name which was very popular throughout Europe after the 12th century Crusades to the Holy land. There are therefore several possibilities, all quite logical. Early examples of the surname recording include Maria Lesser, christened at Chemnitz, Sachsen, Germany, on February 20th 1587, Anne Lesser, the daughter of John Lesser, christened at St Botolphs church, without Aldgate, London, on November 22nd 1620, and Helena Leser, christened at Bergheimerft Catholic Church, Rheinland, Germany, on April 4th 1730. The first known recording is probably that of Conrad Leser of Nordhausen, Germany, in the year 1219, during the reign of Emperor Otto 1V of the Holy Roman (German) Empire 1198 - 1215.
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