Slingerland Coat of Arms / Slingerland Family Crest
This surname of SLINGERLAND was an English occupational name for a soldier or hunter armed with a sling, or a name for someone who was a particularly good shot with this weapon. The name was originally of German origin, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. 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 earliest of the name on record appears to be William SLINGER, who was documented in 1248 in Wales, and John SLINGERE, appears in Cornwall in 1297. Adam de SCLYNGERE was recorded in County Essex in 1327. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Later instances of the name mention Robert, son of Richard SLINGER, who was baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch in 1674, and Elizabeth, daughter of Richard SLINGER was buried at the same church in the year 1675. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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