This name DESHAW was a German and Jewish nickname for a cross or cantankerous person. The name was originally derived from the Old German word SAUER, cognate with the English word SOUR. The name has many variant spellings which include SAUERMANN, ZOYER, SUHRMAN, SUHR, SAUERLE and SEYERLIN. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. A notable member of this name was Carl Ortwin SAUER (l889-l975) American geographer, born in Warrenton, Missouri. Educated at Northwestern University and at Chicago, he became professor of the department of geology and geography at Michigan (l9l5-22) and made vital and practical contributions to the improved use of land in Michigan State. He was professor of geography at the University of California, Berkeley (l923-l954) researching the historical geography of Latin America and the relationships between human societies and plants.
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