Recorded in the spellings of Gace, Gacey, Gass, Gassey, Wace, Wasmer, Wasner, Wass, Wasser, Wassmer, and other spellings, this is a surname of several potential origins dependant largely on where it is, or was, originally recorded. Firstly it can be English, Scottish or German, and a development of the personal name of the pre 7th century a.d. 'Wazo'. This name itself is derived from the ancient word 'wada', meaning "to go", and also the name of a legendary sea-giant! The second possible origin is locational, and a development of 'wase' plus (with some surnames) 'mer', meaning water. In this case the meaning is 'reclaimed land surrounded by water'. The third possible source is Ancient Welsh or Olde English, and a development of "gwas", a term of endearment equivalent to 'young man'. It is almost impossible to be precise but as a rule of thumb names from Germany are probably locational, names from the west of England and Wales were an endearment, and the rest originated from sea serpents! Be that as it may, the surname is one of the first ever recorded anywhere in the world, and development since the first recording as shown below, include: Wide Wasun in the charters of the county of Somerset, England in 1198, William Was of Cambridge in 1220, Konrad Wasser of Beuren, Germany, in 1326, Heinrich von Wasmer of Babenhausen, Germany, in 1345, and Ulrich Wasner of Zu bei Wildony, in 1347. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is shown to be that of William Wase, which was dated 1194, in the "Curia Regis" rolls of the county of Essex. This was during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, and known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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