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Myers Comes From Many Sources

Question: Could you tell me something about the surname Myers? I know that many people of different nationalities have this name, but my line came from Maryland and I have them traced back to the early 1800s.

Answer: You are correct about the name having several origins. However, Myers or Myer frequently came from Germany. It means an overseer or head servant and later meant a farmer--thus its popularity as a surname. It also is an English surname, sometimes spelled Mires. It derived there as a locality surname meaning “at the mire (swampy, low-lying land, or bog).” In England it was a north-English surname. In America, the name could have come from ancestors from this area in England or from German or German-Jewish ancestors.

In Jewish names with a combination of “Meyer,” such as Meyeroff, they are usually an elaborated form of Meir (meaning “light” in Hebrew, according to some sources). Some forms of this surname would be: Meyerfeld, Meyerheim, Meyers, Meyerstein, Meyerhardt and Meyersicht; many may have been shortened to Meyer. According to Dan Rottenberg in his “Finding Our Fathers, A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy,” he lists Meyers, Meier, Meyerowitz, Meierovics, Meyerson, Myer, Myers, Myerson and Meir as Ashkenazi names taken from the Hebrew word for “wise” or “scholarly.”

Q: I am interested in finding an authentic copy of my family coat of arms. Could you recommend a reputable company from which I could obtain this?

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A: Coats of arms were not granted to families, but rather to individuals and only diligent research and careful documentation will determine whether you are entitled to such. The Augustan Society, P.O. Box P, Torrance, Calif. 90507-0210, offers a search of coats of arms for a fee of $15. You will need to know the name and the primary residency.

The research department of this society will make photocopies of as many references as found to arms for individuals bearing the surname you give, but it will not undertake to prove your genealogical connection to the individuals who have borne the arms of any it locates.

There are several commercial companies that market reproductions of coats of arms to Americans. However, just because there is a coat of arms with the same surname as yours does not mean that you are related to the person who bore those arms.


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