Recorded in many forms, this surname of early German and Dutch origins, is one of great popularity particularly in the USA. In 1965 it was calculated to be the 10th most popular surname in New York City. Like many names of pre-medieval origins, it is a form of descriptive nickname. It derives from the pre 8th century word 'swarz' meaning 'black' and as such was given to a person of dark or swarthy appearance. The Angles and Saxons were fair, and this suggests that the 'swarz' as applied to people may have been nationalistic, and given to the Gauls, however this is conjecture. What is certain is that there are many spelling forms. The usual spellings today are Schwartz and Schwarz, but Schwarte, Schwartzer, Schwarzer, and Schwar(t)zmann, are also well recorded. The name is also popular in Austria and Switzerland, in The Netherlands with the additional spellings of (de) Swart, Swarte, or de Zwart, in Poland as Szwarc and Szware, and in Czechoslovakia as Svarc. It also acted as the prefix to other names to create compounds such as Schwartzkopf and Schwarzchild as examples. These surnames are 'ornamental' with no literal meaning. Examples of early German recordings include Werner Swartz, which was dated 1316 at Worms, Thiman Swarte of Greifswald in the year 1350 a.d., and Wicboldus dictus Swarte of Barth, in the year 1356. Later examples are those of Anne Ursula Schwarz of Pfalz, christened there on October 16th 1618, whilst the name is very early into America, Abagail Swartz, (of Dutch origin) being christened at Albany, New York, on September 16th 1687. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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