This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources, the first being from an English nickname for a person of a warm or sunny disposition, or for someone who was associated with the season of summer in another way. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "somer", which developed in Middle English into "sum(m)er". A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities or to habits of dress. The other possible derivation is from an occupational name for a carrier, from the Middle English "sum(p)tes", meaning the driver of a pack animal. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The "s" of Somers is the patronymic form, and means "son of". Sir George Somers (1554 - 1610), the buccaneer, was one of the founders of the south Virginia Company in America in 1609, and was wrecked later that year on the Bermudas (now known as the Summer Islands) and took possession of them for King James 1. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name from Kent is an ermine fess dancettee on a green shield, the Crest being a gold lion's head erased, charged with an ermine fess dancettee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Sumer, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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