This famous surname is medieval English, but of early French origins. Introduced by the Norman Invaders of 1066, it derives from the pre 8th century French word "esclate", meaning slate, with the addition of the Anglo-Saxon agent suffix "-er", meaning "one who works with". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the occupation of the namebearer and became hereditary when a son or sometimes a grandson followed the fathers occupation. This is one of the earliest of all surnames, and early examples of the recordings include: Roger Sclatiere and Walter Sclatter, recorded respectively in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire and Berkshire in 1279, and that of Thomas Slater entered in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Yorkshire, in 1297.In the modern idiom the name has four spelling variations: Slator, Sclater, Slatter and Slater. Later examples include on January 29th 1542, George Slater and Jone Umfrey who were married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, whilst one of the earliest settlers in the New Colonies of America was John Slater, aged 22 years, who was recorded in an original muster of the Inhabitants of the colony of Virginia formed in 1607, in 1621. He had arrived there on the ship "George" in 1617, which was three years prior to the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers on the "Mayflower". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Sclatere. This was dated 1255, in the "Occupation register of Worcester", during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 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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