Category Archives: Sears

The Sears Family

The meaning of a name

The Sears family name is derived, misspelled, translated, obscured, and Americanized into various forms.

From ancestry.com, this blurb on the Sears name seems to simplify everything.

Irish (Kerry): Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Saoghair, which in turn may be a patronymic from a Gaelicized form of the Old English personal name Saeger (see 2 below). EML.English: patronymic from a Middle English personal name Saher or Seir (see Sayer 1).Americanized form of French Cyr.

I found that the Americanized (Kentucky) version of Sears is Cyrus. As in Billy Ray, Miley, and her original ancestors.

Perhaps the best explanation for the various iterations of the Sears family name was put together by V. Suzanne Sears, who I will quote ad verbatim.

http://genforum.genealogy.com/sears/messages/2419.html
The sound Syr is nearly 2,500 years old:
the first person with this last name lived in the middle east and is recorded in ancient history

It goes back even farther:
related to pagan gods and goddess names

It spread out of the Middle East into Persia:
where it became synonymous with things Powerful:
primarily geographical…..like Rivers and Hills

but some men also took it up as a last name.

Heading north: it spread with the Celts to the Baltic Sea….
One finds the River Syr in Belgium and Lake Suire in Switzerland………..

Spreading further: it reached Norway and Sweden and is still a popular first name today: Sirre

In Scotland: it came to be a word synonymous with Hill…..

to ancient Mediterranean sailors: it was a mermaid that created havoc with their ships……..

A Syr had many powers…….

There is speculation it is the backbone of the term Sire….or Lord…..and it probably is…….

However here is where we stop:

Sears and Sire are not in any way related……..

Instead: we are now using the Latin Sutor…..

which refers to the term Pattern Maker…..
and which in French: the T is not pronounced.

Thus a person who worked with patterns was a Sire or Le Sire……..this is a huge family name in Belgium and Picardy and Flanders.

In France: it is spelled Le Sueur…….and is applied to both shoe makers and cloth makers and iron makers.

Its a trade name.

From this rose the very famous Flemish Dutch cloth of ancient times called Sayre……or Sayer.

A Sayer or Sayre was someone who was a Le Sire:
someone who worked and used patterns of Sayre cloth.

Eventually the two terms were interchangeable……..
like Smith…….

Many many families carried this last name………

England had a policy of refusing to import French or French related cloths:
and since they desperately needed them:
instead they imported Sayres…..or Le Syrs

One can find Le Syrs and various spellings as early as 1100AD in all parts of England……..including Colchester regions of the Richard Sayres fame………

They were so highly prized as tradesmen: they were imported to all regions of Britain and Scotland and Ireland and Wales.

Mary Queen of Scots imported a group of Flemish Sayres to Scotland: only to have her son James resettle them in Bedfordshire.

Bedfordshire was also the place where in the 1400s a group of Flemish weavers sought and applied for the right to settle…….and was granted: as in the Sears of Bedfordshire known in early New England.

We also have the Syers of Sussex:
who were also Flemish……..

Thus Sayer and Sears and any other British spelling
are not one genetic family
but many:
anyone who plied this trade.

Some indeed did become wealthy from the actual import and export of the cloth Sayre
most did not

Certainly the cloth workers: disenchanted with the Catholic and Anglican relgion that were the backbone of Puritanism……..driving themselves and others of like persuasion to North America………

The Flemish cloth weavers of Britain had floated its economy for a very long time with little reward in general.

As to Norman or French origins from Serez or any other Normandy town:
thats inconsistent with the facts……

The only version of the name in Normandy was Le Sueur…..and most became Huguenots: and some did migrate to London England Threadneedle district…….

certainly not during the times of the Norman invasion……

Sayre is a simple Flemish word for cloth and clothweaver:
there is no magical French noble version…….

There are thousands of persons today named Le Sire and Le Sueur and Sayre and Sirre still living in this north eastern part of France and Flanders ,,,,,,,

and they are very clear on their origins……
Most even carry Germanic or Jewish DNA profiles….
with a few Swiss ones with typical Celt profiles….

Only the Irish versions are slightly different in origin:
every original Seers in Ireland belongs to the
Seer O Sullivan clan.
and indeed it did mean builder:
but related to stone masonry

All other versions came over to Ireland from Britain and Flanders at later periods and are not indigenous to Ireland.

It was primarily in America where the name and similar sounding ones all seemed to become Sears……even Scearce became Sears: which is unrelated in meaning and origin.

Hope this helps demystify what is really a very simple last name…….

Thanks V. Suzanne.

After reading this, I figured other than trying to trace back a few generations of Sears from direct descendants birth and marriage certificates, and cemetary headstones, it will be a tough task trying to tie them together without DNA evidence.

Perhaps the friends and relatives of my great great ancestors were more interesting anyway….

Next up, the Powell family, my Great Uncle (in-law).