This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes and peculiarities, and to habits of dress and behaviour. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old French "sor", chestnut (ultimately of Germanic origin referring to the colour of autumnal leaves), and used here to denote someone with reddish-brown hair. Early examples of the surname include: Elena la Sore (Somerset, 1273); John le Soor (Suffolk, 1327); and Roger le Sor (Somerset, 1327). In the modern idiom the name has three spelling variations: Soar, Soares and Soars, the final "s" indicates the patronymic and is a reduced form of "son of". On August 25th 1694, Sarah Soars and John Hoskin were married at St. Mary's, St. Marylebone, London, and on April 7th 1799, Samuel Soars was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London. The surnames Sorrel, Sorrell and Sorrill belong to the above group, and are derived from the Old French "sorel", a diminutive of "sor", chestnut, reddish-brown. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a red saltire on an ermine shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Sor, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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