- This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and was in the first instances an occupational surname for a "packer", specifically a wool-packer in the counties where the production of wool was concentrated during the Middle Ages, such as Yorkshire, Suffolk and Leicestershire. The name derives from the Middle English "pack(en)", to pack, from "pa(c)k", package, with the agent suffix "-er", originally denoting "one who does or works with". Job-descriptive surnames were acquired initially by those who were employed in that occupation, and gradually became hereditary. Early examples of the surname include: Robert Packere (1221, Suffolk); and John le Pakkere (1254, Kent); while one Robert de Lyndesay, "pakker", was listed in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1315. In London, the marriage of William Packer and Joane Hamson was recorded at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on January 1st 1588. One Thomas Packer was an early settler in the American Colonies; he is recorded as living "All West and Sherlow hundred" in Virginia, on February 16th 1623. The Packer Coat of Arms depicts a silver cross lozengy between four silver roses on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Packer, which was dated 1209, in the "Register of the Freemen of Leicester", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.