Recorded in many forms including Somer, Sommer, and the plural Sommers, this interesting surname is of both Olde English and Germanic origins. It has two distinct possible sources. The first being a form of the pre 7th century personal byname "Somer", meaning summer, and originally given as a baptismal name of endearment to a child, or it was a medieval nickname for a person of a sunny disposition. The second possible derivation is from the word "sumpter", itself from the Old French word "somier", meaning a driver of a pack animal. The surname derived from this source is therefore occupational for a transport contractor. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early examples of the surname include: Adam Sumer of the county of Essex, England in the year 1203, William Somer of Worcestershire in 1327, and in Germany Thiderik Somer of Greifswald in 1329. Other recordings include Christoph Sommerer of Brixen, Germany, on May 1st 1533, and John Sommers and Ursula Harvey who were married at Northwood, Hampshire, on April 30th 1583. 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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