If there was ever a surname which is not what it seems, 'Carman' must be a prime candidate. There is no evidence at all to suggest that the original nameholders had anything to do with carts or carriages, indeed it is very likely that no such vehicle existed at that time. The origin in fact is Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century, and the derivation is from 'Karlmann' or 'Jarlmann', personal and baptismal names of endearment. The translation is 'Karl's friend, and a similar (now) English surname is 'Dorman', a development of 'Deormann', of which the translation is 'dear friend'. The first known recording is 12th century, which suggests that the name may have been an introduction by the Normans after 1066, despite its Germanic ancestry. One of the first recordings, but not as a surname is that of Simon nepos Kareman, (Simon, the son of Kareman), dated 1196 in Northampton, and slightly later Hamo filius Karlman in Kent, in the year 1201. Curiously these are both later than the original surname recording, showing how different parts of England were moving at different speeds in the adoption of surnames. Later examples are those of Henry Carman of Suffolk in the Hundred Rolls of 1275, and Robert Carleman in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The coat of arms has the blazon of a gold field, charged with three ravens. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Karleman, which was dated 1184, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Leicester, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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