This surname was of the occupational group of names denoting one who was a goatherd, and originally derived from the Latin name CAPRA (nanny-goat). 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 in its many forms is familiar to all Europe, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. William Cheure (without surname) was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1066, and Hamelin Chieure appears in London in the year 1186. Nicholas le Chiuer was recorded in County Sussex in the year 1327.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The name of the Irish family now known as Chevers has taken many forms including Cheevers and Chievre. It can be traced to Gosfred Chievre, a Norman nobleman living in 1100 whose son William Chevre received land in Wexford when he took part in Strongbow's invasion of Ireland in 1172.
The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy.
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