Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname of at least three possible origins. The first is from the French word "germain", of which the original meaning was 'cousin or kinsman', people from the same stock. The development was from the Latin word "german," meaning a bud or shoot. Secondly it may have been occupational and describe a huntsman from the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon words "geri" mean a spear. Thirdly it could be ethnic and describe a German or perhaps a Frenchman from St Germain in Normandy. In the case of ethnic names, these tended to be acquired when a person migrated a considerable distance from their original home, or perhaps as a nickname for character traits associated with that country. Modern spellings of the surname include German, Germain, Germaine, Jarman, Jarmyn, Jermyn, Jermin and Jerman. The coat of arms most associated with the family has the blazon of silver shield thereon a red lion rampant guardant. The crest being a red griffin passant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Jermain. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. 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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