- Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an early English surname. It has two possible origins. The first is from the pre 7th Century word "deora", meaning beloved and used as a byname, whilst the second is from the word "deor", used to describe a wild, swift animal, specifically a deer. In that case the name may have been a nickname for a fast runner, one who had some of the characteristics of a deer. The modern surname can be found as Dear, Deare, Deares, Deer, Deere and Deerr, with diminutives Dearan, Dearing, Deering, Doring, and others. An interesting namebearer was the famous sculptor Joseph Deare (1804 -1835) who exhibited at the Royal Academy until his very early death. Amongst the many early recordings in a wide variety of spellings are Mathew Dere of Leicester in 1196, Richard Derin of Norfolk in 1251, and John Deorin of Worcester in 1275, whilst the marriage of Thomas Dear and Anne Haynes took place on April 17th 1722 at St. Anne's Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Goduui Dere, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Bedfordshire. This was during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.