Recorded as Shearer, Sherer, Sharer, Shirer, Shera (English and Scottish), Scherer, Scheerer, Scherrer (German), Sherer, Szerer (Polish and Ashkenasic), and possibly others, this is an occupational surname. It derives from the pre 7th century Old English word "sceran" and describes either a sheep shearer, or more likely given that sheep shearing happens only once a year for a limited period, to a skilled textile worker who used shears or scissors to trim the finished cloth, and to remove any excess knots or nap.Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary. They only became so after the 12th century when usually a son followed the father into the same line of business or skill. What we do know is that this is one of the earliest of all surnames and early examples in surviving rolls and charters both of the British Isles and Germany includes Konrad Scherer of Baden Baden in Germany in 1251, William le Scherer of the county of Hampshire, England, in the year 1305, and William Scherar of Berwickshire, Scotland in 1324. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Robert le Sherer. This was dated 1231, in the tax rolls known as the Feet of Fines for the county of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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