The Sumnaister history begins in Cornwall
, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England
. Quite distinct from Devon
, the adjoining county, Cornwall
had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Sumnaister history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames
arose is interesting. Local
surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic
names, the Cornish predominantly used local
surnames. The Sumnaister family originally lived in the village of Somaister,
in the county of Cornwall.
Early Origins of the Sumnaister family
The surname Sumnaister was first found in Cornwall
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the manor of Old Port in Modbury, from very ancient times, some say long before the Norman Conquest
in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Sumnaister family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sumnaister research.Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 164 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Sumnaister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sumnaister Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England
, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations
often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall
and the rest of England
. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic
language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Somester, Somaster, Summaster, Sumaister, Sommester, Sommaster, Simister, Semister, Simester and many more.
Early Notables of the Sumnaister family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Sumnaister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Sumnaister family to the New World and Oceana
Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Sumnaister or a variant listed above: Willaim Simister to Virginia in 1659; and S. Sommester landed in America in 1750.
The Sumnaister Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Quasi summus magister
Motto Translation: As though the highest master.