The one thing that we can say with certainty about this very interesting surname is that it is English and locational. It is apparently a dialectal or slang form of an early place name probably called Nor(th) Cester or similar. The surname spellings that we can definitely prove are as 'Norssister or Norsister', and these are followed by Norster at a later date. The name describes 'the castle or fort to the North', and this site may have been in the West Country, and possibly Devon as the first recordings seem to be in that area. However a search of the medieval village list of the Historical Monuments Commission has failed to find such a place, as have the researches of the various British gazetters and place name dictionaries, some of which provide evidence back to the 8th century. If the origin above is correct, 'Nor(th) Cester' would have originally been Roman, and probably associated with Exeter, (the fortress on the Eska), which was the 'outpost' of the Roman Empire. Examples of the surname recordings include Ann Norsister, daughter of George and Ann Norsister, christened at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on May 22nd 1681, and Richard Norster, who married Joan White at Thorncombe, near Axminster, on January 20th 1716. Slightly later Samuel Norster, the son of Samuel and Joane Norster of Weymouth, was christened at Conygar Lane Wesleyan chapel on January 23rd 1827. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Norssister, which was dated August 1st 1632, who married Jone Lympincote at Holy Trinity, Exeter, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as 'The Martyr', 1625 - 1649. 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.