This long-established surname is of medieval German origin, and is an occupational name for a shoemaker or cobbler (rarely a tailor), deriving from the Middle High German "suter, siuter, sutaere" (ultimately from the Latin "sutor", an agent derivative of "suere", to sew). In its original sense "a man who has to do with", the "-er" designates persons according to their profession or occupation. Job-descriptive surnames initially denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. One Benz der Syter, f Kempten, was entered in German Medieval Documents, dated 1402, and a Diebold Seiter zu Buhl was recorded in 1491. In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Sauter, Seut(t)er, Seiter and Sutter(er). The last mentioned form is chiefly found in Switzerland, and Seiter is most widespread in Swabia (a former duchy in south west West Germany from the 10th Century to 1313), now part of Baden-Wurrtemberg and Bavaria. On September 10th 1599, the birth of Barbara, daughter of Barbara and Michel Seiter, was recorded at Flacht, Neckarkreis, Wuertt, Germany. A Coat of Arms granted to the Seiter family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts a silver swan, beaked and membered red, posed on a green terrasse against a blue triangular field further divided horizontally red and silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Berchtold Seiter, which was dated 1295, in "Medieval Records of Germany", during the reign of Emperor Adolf 1 of Nassau, 1292 - 1298. 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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