This surname of SLIFER is a German occupational name for a polisher of swords and armour, or a grinder of knives or diamonds. The name was derived from the Old German word SCHLEIFEN (to grind, polish). It is also a German and Ashkenazic Jewish habitation name for someone who came from SCHLEIFE in Silesia. Other spellings of the name include SCHLIEF, SCHLIEFFEN, SCHLEIFER, SCHLEIFE, SCHLEIFMAN, SCHLIEP, SCHLIEPER and the name has been angliziced to SLIPPER. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The German king Kaiser Wilhelm II ruled for thirty years from 1888 until 1918. In the Department within the Ministry of the Royal Household was the Office of Heralds, responsible for matters concerning noble rank and privilege. It was headed by General Count von SCHLIEFFEN. 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.
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