This very unusual and interesting surname has its origins in a medieval nickname, this being a common method of creating surnames in the Middle Ages, and in this case from 'Sweet sire', derived from the Middle English 'Swete', meaning pleasant, agreeable, and 'sire', lord or master. As a nickname it would be used of an elderly, gently-bred man, or generally as a title of respect, although there are instance where the application of the nickname is probably ironical in tone and was given to someone who habitually used this form of address. In the modern idiom there are four forms of the name, Sweetsur, Sweetzer, Switsur and Switzer. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Swetesire, which was dated 1355, in the Close Rolls of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as the Father of the Navy, 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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.

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