The surname of ZELLER was derived from the Old English word 'seler' an occupational name, one who sells in the markets, a trader. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066 and Alfriz Sellare, 1086 County Cambridge appears to be the first of the name on record. In 1175, in County Yorkshire, Sanson Sellarius was made to pay five marks to the exchequer for selling shields to the king's enemies, and Walter Sellarius was fined half-a-mark in 1183 for false description of his wares. Bartholomew Sellarius was documented in the year 1273 in County Kent and John le Seler of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Joshua Hartley married Harriet Sellar at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1809. An notable bearer of the name was Patrick Sellar (1780-1851) the Scottish lawyer, born in Moray. He became notorious during the Highland Clearances as factor to the 1st Duke of Sutherland for the way he evicted the crofting tenant families of Strathnaver in 1814, to make way for sheep. He was brought to trial by the sheriff of Sutherland, but was acquitted and later became a sheep-farmer.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1844.
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