According to the World Dictionary of Surnames, this is a surname of Central European and specifically Czech origins. It is recorded in a large number of spellings including Semrad, Semerad, Semerau, Semirad, Semorad, Semoradova (Czech), Semeria (Spanish), Semiraz (Polish), and others. It derives from a pre 7th century personal name 'Semirad' formed from the elements 'semi' meaning a person, and 'rad,' a quick mover. As such it was probably a medieval nickname either for a swift runner, or possibly an official messenger. Nickname surnames form one of the largest groupings within the surname listings. It has been estimated that over a quarter of all surnames derive from an occupation, or more usually personal characteristics such as height, size, and appearance, as well as physical cabilities, or even the lack of them. Unfortunately the very existence of early church recordings of births, deaths and marriages, that is before the year 1800, in countries which between 1940 and 1990 fell under Communist control, is at best erratic and often non-existent. Many of these recordings, in some cases all of them, which traced the true history of both the state and its citizens over the centuries, were often deliberately destroyed, and the church itself was often persecuted as a threat to the regime. In this case we are luckier than with most such surnames in that we have found quite early recordings. These include Rehor Semerad who married Marketa Podraza, at Trebic, on October 6th 1686, and Rozina Semeradova who married Jan Marec also at Trebic, Czech Republic, on June 3rd 1755.
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