Recorded in several spelling forms including Malcher, Malsher, Melcher, Melchior, Melchiore, Melchiorre, Melchor, Melker, and possibly others, this is a medieval surname which can be English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. There are at least three possible origins, quite removed from each other, although over the centuries as the name has moved about, spellings and origins have become "fused". That aside the first origin is from the biblical name Melchior, the original name holder being one of the Magi, with Casper and Balthazar, although the original popularity in Europe would seem to owe more to a 6th century German king, known as the king of Light, because of his even handedness. The second origin is occupational from milc, a nickname for a dairy farmer, whilst the third is from the French maleterre meaning poor or swampy ground, and hence describing one who lived at such a place. Early examples of English recordings taken from surviving church registers include Robert Malcher who married Ann Slany at the church of St Martin Orgar in the city of London, on April 16th 1592, and Elizabeth Melchior who married Robert Clark at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, also city of London, on October 12th 1686. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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