Recorded as Hand, and the patronymic Hands and Handes, and the occupational Handman and Handiman, this is an English surname. It has at least two possible origins. The first is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hand", and used to denote a person with very large hands, or possibly one whose specific job required the continual use of "hands", as with a sailor. A sizeable group of early European surname were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, which were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and even habits of dress. The second possible origin is from the Saxon personal name "Hans", a variant of "Johannes", itself from the Hebrew Yochan or John. However of the two as the term "hand" is still used to denote a sailor, this seems the most likely source. In the plural, when it occurs, the name means "the son of Hand". The surname is an early recording in the New England colonies of America when Richard Hand, aged 19, embarked in the ship "Hopewell", from the Port of London bound for Barbados on February 17th 1634. The spelling as Handman or Handiman means the servant or friend of Hans. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Handes, which was dated 1332, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Warwickshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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