This German surname of OESER is of three-fold origin. It was a locational name meaning 'one who came from OSE or from OOS' (swampy water) the name of several places in Germany. The name was also baptismal 'the descendant of OSER' a form of ANSHER meaning half-god. The name was also occasionally applied to one who used a needle, a tailor. The tailor was an important part of medieval life, and in the parts of Europe where the winter weather was severe everyone needed the 'great cloak' required by nobles or other warm clothing which was made by the tailor whose talent commanded respect. In these times clothes made the man, showing everyone the class in which he belonged and the deference due to him. Laws restricted the lower classes from wearing the clothes of their 'betters'. In almost all European countries the family name derived from the occupation as a tailor became a popular one. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity.
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