This most interesting and unusual name is of Scottish origin from any of three possible sources. Firstly, it may derive from the old English pre 7th Century personal name "Agemund" of uncertain etymology. Alternatively, it may have been a name given to "an infirm person" from the old English "ace manne". Finally, the name may have originated from the old English personal name "Aecemann", oak man, from the elements "oke" (aec) oak, and "mann", man. There is a story told of an officer who had command of the troops besieging MacBeth in Dunsinane Castle who ordered his men to march to the attack with branches of oak from Birnam Wood, and that on this account obtained the name Aikman. The seal of the first namebearers in Scotland (see below) shows a fox, with paw raised looking upwards. One John Hekman was bailie of Montrose in 1400 (according to Scottish Arms (1370 - 1678). The tombs of ten John Aikmans are said to be in Arbroath and the name was also found in Orkney in 1575. William Aikman (1682 - 1731) was a notable portrait painter. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alisaundre Akeman, of Lanarkshire, which was dated 1296, "Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland", during the reign of Interregnum (1290 - 1292). 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.
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