This most interesting and unusual surname has two possible derivations, one Old German, the other early medieval English. The surname may have been a German metonymic occupational name for a maker of knives and swords, from the Old German word "sahs", sword, knife, plus the agent suffix "er", meaning someone who works with. An ancient Germanic tribe were named from the same element, referring to a kind of knife or dagger that they used; the tribe gave its name, "Sachsen", to the region where they settled in Roman times; the modern English name for the region is Saxony. The name may, however, be of early medieval English origin, and a topographical name for one who lived by the sasse, a lock in a river, from the Middle English "sass, sasse", a sluice or lock, plus the topographical suffix "er". This may also have been an occupational name for a person who worked at the lock gates, opening and closing the gates for passing boats. Early recordings of the surname include the marriage of Katharina Sessner and Balthasar Rinck at Unterfranken, Brosswenkheim, Bayern, and the christening of Magdalena Christina Sasser on June 28th 1607 at Birkenfeld, Oldenburg (both in Germany); and the christening of Lawrence, son of William Saser, on March 20th 1628 at Putney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gregor Sesser, which was dated June 5th 1565, christening witness at Altenburg, Sachsen-Altenburg, Germany, during the reign of Maximilian 11, Holy Roman Emperor (Hapsburg) 1564 - 1576. 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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