This surname can best be described as European, but of medieval 'Crusader' origins. It derives from the ancient Hebrew personal name 'Yochanan', meaning 'he who sits at the right hand of god', and popularly spelt in the West as 'Johann or John'. 'Yochanan' is the base form of such popular surnames as Jones (son of John), Johnson, Jansen, and Johanson, all having the same meaning. In this case we have one that can be described as a rare form of the rarest of the variants. Recorded in the spellings of Genman, Ginman, Gennan, Jenman, Janman(n), Jennen and Jannan, all are dialectal, and all derive through 'Johann' plus the Anglo-Saxon suffix '(k)in', again to give the patronymic 'son (or close relative) of John'.In the modern idiom popular similar surnames are Jankin, Jenkin, and Jannin. It has to be appreciated that whilst surnames have been hereditary in most parts of Europe since the 13th century, as mass education did not commence until the late 19th century, surname spelling remained 'fluid', hence the unexplainable variations. With this name development has included such examples as Martha Ginman, christened at St Andrews church, Holborn, London, on May 6th 1589, and Christopher Jennen, married at Gwinear, Cornwall, on July 24th 1592. Other examples are Samuel Jenman, son of Rowlandi, christened at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on October 16th 1640, and Joseph Janmann, who married Elizabeth Roehrig at Poppelsdorf, Rheinland, Germany, on October 5th 1825. The coat of arms most associated with the name, has the blazon of a blue field, charged with a gold cross, pierced of the field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Jannen, which was dated 1327, the Subsidy Rolls of the city of Worcester, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as 'The father of the English navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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