This interesting surname is of Germanic origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or a variety of qualities, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. In this instance the surname derives from an agent derivative of the German "schweigen", to be silent, and the nickname would have been given to a silent, quiet, taciturn person. Haintz der Swaiger (1379), and Fridel Swaiger (1414) were noted in medieval German Records. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Schwager, Schwaiger, Schweiger, Schweigert and Schweigerdt. Recordings of the surname from German Church Registers include: the marriage of Phillipp Schwaiger and Maria Mayer, at Eberfing, Oberbayern, Bayern, on September 18th 1720, and the marriage of Matthias Schwaiger and Barbara Eder on October 30th 1721, at Fridolfing, Oberbayern, Bayern. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided in quarter: the first and fourth quarters are gold, and depict a gold arrow on a red bend; the second and third quarters depict three gold mullets on a blue bend on a silver background. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gotfrid Sweigere, which was dated 1203, in "Medieval Records of Germany", during the reign of Philip of Swabia, Holy Roman Emperor, 1198 - 1208. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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