Recorded in many forms including Maus, Mauser, Meuser, and diminutives Mausel, Meisel, Meissel (German, Swisse and Jewish), Mouse and Mouser (English), Muis and De Muys (Dutch and Flemish), Myska, Myszkor, and Myszkowski (Polish), and many others, this is a surname of Germanic origins. However spelt it derives from the pre 7th century word 'mus', meaning a mouse, and was either an occupational name for a vermin controller, or more likely in the Middle Ages was a nickname. In this case it probably described a person who was either very timid, or more likely given the robust humour of those Chaucerian times, the complete opposite! That the name was considered to be highly respectable is shown by its survival in some popularity through to the late 20th century, and no doubt it will continue for many years yet. Curiously the Mauser rifle has been for more than a century, one of the most popular and feared weapons, and one used with considerable success in both World Wars. The first known recording of the name is probably that of Gerlacus Mus of Worms, Germany, in the charters of that city in 1257, whilst Godwinus Mauser is recorded in the charters of Sangerhaussen, Germany, in 1268.
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