This ancient surname is of German, Swiss and French origins, and was also adopted as Ashkenasic from the 17th century onwards. It derives from the pre 8th century word 'fried' meaning 'peace', plus 'man(n)', which can have a varity of translations from servant, (as in servant of god), friend, or follower. It was a baptismal term of endearment, although later it also had the meaning of 'strong youth'. The coat of arms granted in Basle, Switzerland, has the blazon of a white lamb trippant on a blue field, clearly indicating the emphasis on peace. The various forms of the spelling include Fridman, Friedman, Friedeman, Friedmann, and Fridmann, although the spelling in France is usually Frydman. The name does not seem to be recorded in Britain at all, the English 'Freeman' having no connection. Early recordings taken from authentic German church registers include Johanna Sybilla Friedmann, baptised at Mittelsaida, Sachsen, on May 21st 1739, and Johan Georg Friedman, christened at Herbertingen, Donakreis, Hessen, on April 15th 1848. The name is one of the most popular in the USA, in 1965 it was calculated as 17th in New York City. Examples of American recordings include those of Adam Friedman, a witness at Douglaston Zion Episcopal Church, Queens, New York, on June 1st 1862, and Lillian Freedman, (an American only spelling form) daughter of Henry Freedman, baptised at Queens, Brooklyn, New York, on August 19th 1894. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Josephus Fridman, which was dated January 22nd 1686, married Margaretha Ernst at Baden, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1 of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, 1658 - 1705. 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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