This famous surname is of early medieval German origin. It derives from the male given name Hans, itself a nickname or short form of Johann, with the addition of the suffix "mann" or later "man", to indicate friend, kinsman or attendant. Johann is from the Hebrew "Jochanaan", meaning "Jehovah has favoured me (with a son)", and was adopted into Roman (Latin) via the Ancient Greek "Johannes". The name enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, indeed for most of Christendom it has been the most popular baptismal name. It was always given in honour of St. John the Baptist, precursor of the Christ, and St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel. The suffix "man(n), when attached to a given name indicates servant, page, or attendant of that person. Hanselmann or Hanselman, with other spellings Hansmann, Hansemann and Hanssmann, is widely found in German records from the mid 15th Century, and in England from before 1792. On October 1st of that year one Henry Hanselman was a witness at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London. Early examples of the recordings include Georius Hansemann, the "Burgermeister", recorded in Schlettstadt, Germany, in 1487, whilst on February 6th 1619, Martin Hanselmann was a witness at Schwarzwaldereis, Wuerttemburg. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to that of Erhard Hanselmann of Brackenheim, Germany, in 1472. This was during the reign of Emperor Frederick 111 of Hapsburg, 1440 - 1493. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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