The English and Scottish surname Ayer is derived from the Middle English term eir, ‘heir’ (Old French (h)eir, from Latin heres ‘heir’). Forms such as Richard le Heyer were frequent in Middle English, denoting a man well known to be the heir to the main property in a particular locality, either one who had already inherited or one with great expectations. The earliest record of the name is in 1273 when Henry Ayer, is registered in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire." John Ayres was a noted penman, who between 1680 and 1700 introduced the Italian hand into England; he published many calligraphic works including "A Tutor to Penmanship", 1698. Symon Ayres, aged 48 yrs. embarked from London on the ship "Increase" bound for New England in April 1635. Today there are approximately 3,300 bearers of the surname Ayer living in The United States.
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