This interesting and now uncommon surname is of pre 7th century Olde English, Anglo-Saxon, and Viking origins. It was originally an occupational surname for someone who manufactured or sold sieves usually of wood and later metal. The name derives from the word 'syfe' related to the Old Norse word 'sef', which originally described a reed with a hollow stalk. In the pre medieval period this word was fused with the word 'wyrhta' meaning a craftsman, and derivative form of 'wyrcan', to work. After the 12th century as the language changed to Chaucerian or Middle English, the spelling became firstly 'wrycht' and then 'wricht', before the spelling locked as 'wright.' A wright was a popular description for a maker of machinery or even buildings as in Millwright, and is found in many such combinations. Sieves were mainly used in the Middle Ages for agricultural purposes, such as separating the wheat from the chaff. The modern surname can be found as Sievewright, Sivewright, Seivwright and Severwright, whilst an example of the recordings is that of the christening of Joseph Sievewright, recorded at St. James's church, Garlickhithe, in the city of London, on March 23rd 1728. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon le Sivewricht. This was dated 1219, in the Yorkshire Assize Court Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216-1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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