This German and Jewish surname of SCHERR was an occupational name for a sheep-shearer, or someone who used scissors to trim the surface of finished cloth and remove excessive nap. The name is also spelt SCHERRER, SHERER and SZERER. 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. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name has been Anglicized to Shearer and early records of the name in England include Matilda le Scherheringe, 1273 County Lincolnshire. Richard le Schearere, was recorded in 1300 in the County of Yorkshire. William le Scherer was documented in Yorkshire in the year 1305. Johannes Wykir Shearinge, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Oliver Searing, 1379 ibid. The name was taken to Scotland at an early date and John Cissor was burgess of Dunfermline in 1316. William Scherar was the baillie of Berwick in 1324, and Johannes Scherar was baillie and burgess of Aberdeen in the year 1399.
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