Recorded in many forms throughout northern Europe, this is a surname of two possible origins. When spelt as Spoerl, Spoeri, Spoerri, Spoerrin, Sporry, Sporrys (German), and Sporrij and Sporry (Dutch), it probably derives from the pre medieval and possibly 6th century German word "spoerl" meaning a sparrow, and hence either a nickname for a small, lively person, or perhaps residential for a person who lived at a house or inn known as The Sparrow. Before the days of house numbers, almost every house would have a distinguishing sign of some sort, although today in general only inns and public houses retain these signs. A second possible origin is from the word "spur" and found in the surname spellings of Spohrer and Spohr (German), and Spur, Spurling and Spurrier (English). All have the meaning of a spur maker. Recordings suggest that over the centuries some of these names have become confused in their spellings, and therefore some modern day holders may have come from the opposing origin. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded, but in Germany Cunrad Sporo of Schonau is recorded in 1150, one of the earliest surviving of all surname recordings, whilst Wolfgang von Sporer is recorded in Munstermaifeld, Germany, in 1332, where he was appropriately an armourer.
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