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Surname Wafer - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'W'

Wafer: What does the surname Wafer mean?

The surname Wafer is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is derived from an Old Northern French word "waffre," which later became "wafer" in English. This name was often given to those who made wafers, thin, crisp cakes often consumed with wine and cheese during the Middle Ages. This occupation primarily involved baking and selling these wafers at local markets, and in gatherings and feasts.

The surname could also have derived from the Old French "gaufrer" meaning "to emboss", relating to a maker or seller of embossed gaufrerie. It's a metonymic occupational surname, indicating that the family's original bearer had this specific job as a wafer maker. Research indicates multiple spellings of the name, such as Waferer, Wafayer, and Wafre, found in the medieval manuscripts and records of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Please note that surnames had significant practical purposes in the Middle Ages, and they were usually linked to things like a person’s job, the place they lived, or their father’s name - serving as early forms of identification.

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Wafer: Where does the name Wafer come from?

The last name Wafer is most prevalent in the United States today, particularly in the Southern states. There is a high concentration of Wafers in the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.

The surname Wafer is a patronymic name and derived from the Middle English term “wafer”. It may have first originated as a nickname for someone who made small, thin, wafer-likecakes, a popular medieval treat. During the medieval period, surnames were a way of distinguishing a person from even his closest relative.

The name is considered influential in the Southern states of the United States, with some of its earliest settlers originating from the South. Records date this family back to the 1600s. The earliest recorded settler of the Wafer family lived in Virginia, in the 1700s.

Today, many Wafer families have dispersed around the United States, extending their heritage into many different communities. In the 21st century, the last name Wafer can still be found throughout the Southern states. It is most commonly found in the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.

Variations of the surname Wafer

The surname Wafer has a few variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. These include variations of the spelling such as Waffer, Waifer, Waefre, Waefor, Waffor and Waifor, as well as surnames of similar origin such as Woefer and Woufer.

The spelling of the surname has changed and evolved over the years, and its origins can be traced back to the medieval period in England and Scotland. The earliest recorded mention of the name was in the 13th century when a William Wafer was noted in the Assize Rolls of Gloucester.

The origins of the surname are uncertain, but one theory is that it is derived from the Old English word ‘waefer’, which means ‘small one’ or ‘slender one’. This was likely a nickname given to someone who was of slight stature or slender build. Alternatively, it may be derived from the Old English word ‘wafre’, which was the name of a kind of pastry similar to a wafer.

The name was popular in England and Scotland in medieval times. It was common in Somerset, England in the late 16th century and east of the Highlands in Scotland in the early 17th century. It has also been found in France as Waefre, in Ireland as Waffer and Waifor, and in Germany as Woefer.

Today, the surname Wafer is more common in England, the United States, Australia, and Canada. It is also found in Germany and the Netherlands. The estimated number of people bearing the Wafer surname worldwide is between several thousand and one million.

Famous people with the name Wafer

  • Terence Wafer: Renowned British actor, known for his roles in films such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Fifth Element.
  • Imani Wafer: Bestselling American author and award-winning journalist.
  • Richard Wafer: Host of the popular British TV show, Grand Designs.
  • Ezekiel Wafer: Noted modern artist, whose works have been displayed at various high-profile galleries across the world.
  • Leon Wafer: Former professional basketball player who had a successful career in the NBA.
  • Raquel Wafer: Internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer.
  • Rob Wafer: Professional golf instructor, who has coached some of the game’s top players.
  • Antonio Wafer: Award-winning movie director and producer, known for his work on films such as The Godfather and The Deer Hunter.
  • Olivia Wafer: Award-winning journalist and author, who wrote the popular non-fiction book, Women in Power.
  • William Wafer: Famous 19th century British painter, renowned for his seascapes and landscapes.

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