This name, with variant spellings Vizar, Vizer, Vizier, Vizir etc., derived from the Old French "Viseur" meaning "observer" or "overlooker", and was originally given as an occupational name to one employed in a supervisory role. The surname from this source first appears on record in England in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below), 16th Century entries in Wiltshire church registers include the christening of Alece, daughter of Henry Vizar, in Chippenham on October 15th 1580 and the marriage of John Vizer to Jonne Woodlane in Chippenham on November 13th 1581. In 1616 one, robert Vizer of Somerset was entered in "the Oxford University Register". On January 8th 1690 Mary Vizier and Samuel Thomasman were married in St. James, Duke's Place, London and on April 4th 1738 Mary Vizor married a Robert Weeks in Sherston, Wiltshire. A further variant is found in the marriage of Ann Visor to James Tolman in Teddington, London (1820). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Visur, which was dated 1273, "The Hundred Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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