There are two possible sources of this rare surname, the first being that it is of French origin and from a given name, the Latin 'Severus', with the meaning harsh or austere, and was borne by many early Christian saints, including the bishops of Treves (2nd Century) and Cologne (4th Century). However, Siverns may also be a dialectal variant of Severn, a locational name from the River Severn which flows through Wales and the West of England to the Bristol Channel. This river is recorded circa 115 as 'Sabrina', in circa 800 as 'Habren', in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Sauerna', and is identical with the old names of two rivers, one in Bedford, the other 'Sabrann', the old name of the Lee in Ireland.The meaning is unknown but is thought to mean 'slow-moving'. In St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, the christening of one Samuel Siverns is recorded on January 22nd 1778. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Siverns, marriage to William Butler, which was dated August 1st 1657, at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, 'The Great Protector', 1649-1658. 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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