This intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources; the first being that it is a dialectal variant of a locational name, Swarthmoor, from a place so called in Lancashire, which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sweart" or the Old Norse "svartr", meaning black, with "mor", a moor, and is recorded in Ekwall's, placenames as "Swartemore" in 1537. Alternatively, it could either be topographical for someone who lived on or near a moorland track, from the Olde English "swaeth", a track, with "mor", a moor, or perhaps more likely, locational from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place named with these elements, of which Sweetmore or Swetmore are more modern variants. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain since circa 1100, due to such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century. One Francis Sweetmore was christened at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire, on June 25th 1826. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Swetmore, which was dated June 25th 1741, a christening witness, at St. Luke's, Chelsea, Middlesex, during the reign of King George 11, known as "The Last Warrior King", 1727 - 1760. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017