Recorded as Harry, Harrie, Harrhy, and the occupational Harriman and Harryman, this is an English medieval surname, but arguably of French and ultimately German origin. It derives from the given name Henri, from the pre 6th century Germanic Haimric and means or at least translates as "Home rule." In its Latinized form of Henricus, it is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of the landowners of England in 1086, whilst Herre de Camera is recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1176. These two recordings both predate surnames. Possibly the first use as a surname is that of Nicholas Herri in the Subsidy Tax register of Worcestershire in 1327, whilst Richardus Henryman is recorded in the famous Poll Tax register for the county of Yorkshire in 1379. It is claimed by the famous Victorian etymologist Lower writing in 1845 that Harriman or Harryman was originally a sardonic nickname given to a brigand or freebooter, although conventionally it would be expected to mean the friend or servant (man) of a person called Harry. Apparently in some proof of this statement, the surname was most popular in the county of Cumberland, in the Border Country with Scotland where for many centuries "freebooting" across the border along with the usual rape and pillage, was a local sport. 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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