Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an English surname, but possibly of French medieval origins of which it has several! These include a derivative of the pre-medieval personal name 'Saher' or 'Seir', which itself is a short form of the Norman name 'Sigiheri' introduced into England after the famous Conquest of 1066. This name loosely translates as 'victory - army'. The second possible origin is from the medieval occupational word 'sayhare', meaning a wood cutter, although the usual surname is now Sawyer. The third is from the Middle English word 'sayen' or 'seycen', meaning to say, and hence describing a professional reciter, one whose occupation was to read or recite both prose and poetry, and no doubt news and gossip as well. The fourth origin is from the medieval occupation of assaying metals or tasting food. This is derived from the Old French word 'essay', and meaning a trial or test. Where the name is plural as in Sears, it is a patronymic meaning 'son of Sear'. Where the ending is a 'y' this is a diminutive to mean Little Sear. The spellings are known to include Sayer, Sayre, Saer, Sare, Seyer, Sear, Seares, Sears, Seer, Seary, Seery, and possibly others. William Sayers, who emigrated to the English colony of Virginia in 1634, was one of the early settlers in what became the USA. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Saer. He was presumabley a wood cutter and appears in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1204. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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