Recorded in a number of spellings including Southern, Sothern, Suthern, Sutheran, Suthren, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is topographical or regional and derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "sutherne", meaning southern. The surname has two possible interpretations: Firstly, it may be a purely topographic name for someone who lived to the south of a village or settlement as topographical surnames were among the earliest created, both natural and man-made features in the landscape providing easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Secondly it may be regional describing "a southern man", one who had migrated from the south, which could imply a continental origin. Examples of the surname recordings taken from surving early church registers include: John Sutherine, at St Dionis Backchurch in the city of London on June 1st 1588, the marriage of Thomas Southerns and Anne Moor, at St. Mary's, Lichfield, Staffordshire, on October 13th 1754, and the marriage of Sarah Suthern and Alexander Thomas on December 20th 1778, at St. Clement Danes, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Sutherne. This was dated 1243, in the Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111 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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