This is a famous Dutch, South African, and sometimes German, surname. Recorded as Heer, Heerdien, Heerema, Heersema, Heersma, Heermann, Heermans, compounds such as Heerklotz, Heerstager and many others, it originates from the word "heer" meaning a lord, land owner, or sometimes land lord. To this word has sometimes been added various prefix and diminutives. It is therefore regarded as an occupational surname and according to the dictionary of Dutch and German surnames it is first recorded in 1424 with that of Konrad Heer. He was given as being a burgher of the city of Konstanz. It is almost certain that earlier examples would have once existed but may well have been destroyed during the Second World War (1939 - 1945). In The Netherlands church registers recordings are rather erratic. The country spent centuries under the threat and actual war, a situation is not conducive to good record keeping, and not comparable with those found in the British Isles. Recordings found include Siamka Heersma of Slochteren, Groningen, on February 21st 1779 and Christian Heerseman at Rotterdam, on March 31st 1858.
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