This English, German and Ashkenazic Jewish surname of NEHER was an occupational name for a maker of needles, or in some cases, perhaps a tailor. The name was originally derived from the Old German word NADEL. Needles in the Middle Ages were coarse articles made from bone. The tailor was an important part of medieval life, and in the parts of Europe where the winter weather was severe everyone needed the 'great cloak' required by nobles or other warm clothing which was made by the tailor whose talent commanded respect. In these times clothes made the man, showing everyone the class in which he belonged and the deference due to him. Laws restricted the lower classes from wearing the clothes of their 'betters'. In almost all European countries the family name derived from the occupation as a tailor became a popular one. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KNEEDLER, NADLER, NEEDLER, NAYLDOR, NEILDER, NEEDLE, NOLDNER, NOLDER, NOLLNER, NADEL, NADELMAN, NUDLER, NETHELER and NADELSTERN, to name but a few. The earliest recorded bearer of the name in the south-west of England is Ralf le NELDERE, whose will was proved at Exeter in 1320. John NELDER of Trelowya near St. Germans, who lodged a complaint of robbery in 1470, may be an ancestor of present day bearers of the name in Cornwall. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Later instances of the name include Ralph NEEDLER and Agnes Rawlins, who were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1616, and William, son of William NEEDLER was baptised at the same church in 1667,
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