Recorded in over forty spelling forms including Pear, Peer, Pearman (England), Pere, Poir, Poirier, Poirot, Poirriez, and Dupoirer (France and Belgium), Perier, Perrier, Peres and Perie (Provencal), Pera, La Pira, Delpero and Piras (Italy), Perera and Pereira (Spain and Portugal), and Pirner (Germany), this is usually an occupational surname. It describes either a grower or seller of fruit particularly pears, or it may be topgographical for a person who lived by a fruit orchard. The ultimate origination of the surname however spelt is the Roman (Latin) word "pirum". In some case it is claimed that the name is a nickname although again ultimately one from a Roman word this time "par". In French this became "pere" and in Medieval English "peer". The original meaning was a boon companion, one who was alike in most aspects, and could therefore be trusted. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created as to describe a person by the work they carried out, made for the easiest possible identification. However these names rarely became hereditary before the 14th century and then usually when a son or possibly even a grandson, followed the father into the same line of work. In this case although records are to be found throughout Europe the very first of all known recordings in any form is that of Osbert Pere, believed to be a Frenchman, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Buckinghamshire, England, in the year 1230.
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