This interesting and unusual name is either a topographical surname denoting someone who lived to the south of a settlement or village or a regional surname for someone who had migrated from "the south". The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century word "sudth", in Middle English "s(o)uth", although there is a very noticeable influence of the Old Norse "Suthraenn", "Southern" in the early recorded instances of the name, mostly from counties heavily settled by Scandinavians. These include "Robert de Sothern" (1297, Yorkshire), "Henry le Sotheron" (1327, Derbyshire) and "William Sothoryng" (1524, Suffolk). The marriage between "John Coho" and "Faith Southorn" was recorded on the 25th November 1708 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Sutherne (witness), which was dated 1243, Assize Rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Henry III, The Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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