Recorded in England as Samarth, Samart, Samet, Samett, Sammut, Zammit and Zammett, this is seemingly a surname of either German or Ukrainian and Ashkenasic origins. According to the World Dictionary of Surnames it originates from a place called Samogotia, of which Zemet was the Ashkenasic spelling. This seems to be a likely explanation, although other authorities have suggested that the origin is pre 8th century Germanic from the ancient word "samet" meaning a thread. If so then the modern surname was probably a medieval occupational name for a maker of cloth, particularly velvet, a word which also seems to have the same origin! It is said that in England the name is not Jewish because all the early recordings are Christian, or at least they appear in surviving Christian church registers. The Jews were exiled from England in circa 1280 by King Edward 1st, and were not allowed back until 1655, on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. It may be significant that the first recording that we have is in 1658 when Roger Samart was a christening witness at St Olaves church, Southwark, in the city of London, on October 24th of that year. Later recordings taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London and showing the 'development' of the spelling of the surname over the centuries include those of: Lilly Ann Samarth, the daughter of William Samarth, christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on August 15th 1714, Palo Zamit, a christening witness at St Catherine Creechchurch, on May 2nd 1816, and Joseph Baltthazer Sammut, who married Janette White at St James Paddington, on September 21st 1852.
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