The original spelling of this medieval German and Ashkenazic surname was 'Spira' and later circa 1600 -'Speyer'. The surname is locational and derives from the ancient German town of 'Spire' in Bavaria. The original Coat of Arms was a Silver Field, Charged with a Sword Belt (Fesse) and a Crescent, both in red and indicating that the holder was a crusader who achieved victory over the Turks circa 1300. The modern name spellings include Shapiro, Shapira, Shapera and Shapero, and these now relatively popular surnames date from the mid 19th Century in both the U.K.and the U.S.A.. The original Germanic meaning of the name was 'The Dam or Lock' (on the river). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francis Cunningham Shapiro, which was dated 1878, (Baptised) son of A. W. Shapiro of London, during the reign of Queen Victoria, known as 'The Great White Queen' 1837 - 1901. 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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