This interesting surname is of Germanic origin, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation or a variety of features, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. In this instance the name derives from the German "god", good, or "got", God, with "mann", man, and the nickname would have been given to a "good man", a kind and helpful man, or to a "God's man", God's servant, a pious man of God. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings ranging from Guttmann, Gutermann, Gothmann and Godemann, to Gudeman, Gotmann, Gotemann and Gottmann. Recordings of the surname from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Martha Gottmann and Edidius Keil on January 10th 1630, at Obernessa, Sachsen, Germany; the christening of Elizabeth Ann Johanna, daughter of Daniel and Mary Gottman, on March 18th 1790, at the British Chaplaincy, St. Petersburg, Russia; and the christening of Franz, son of Anna Maria Gotman, at Civil, Bonn, Rheinland, Germany, on March 15th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Gottmann, which was dated June 6th 1582, marriage to Jacob Zennen, at Bacharach, Rheinland, during the reign of Rudolf 11, Habsburg Emperor, 1576 - 1612. 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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