This interesting surname is English. It is however of pre 9th century Old French origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be an ethnic name derived from the term "germain", itself from the Roman (Latin) word "germanus". As such the name was sometimes used to denote a man from Germany, but was also used in the case of a person who had trade or other connections with the country. The ultimate origin of the Latin tribal name "Germanus" is obscure, but it is thought to mean the "spear-men", with "geri, gari", meaning spear, as the first element. The second possible derivation for the surname is from the Old French and later medieval English given name "Germa(i)n", which itself derives partly from the tribal name as before, and partly from the Latin and Old French "germa(i)n", meaning "full brother, cousin". This is originally from the Latin "germen", literally a bud or shoot, and used to mean "of the same stock". The given name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Germanus", and Jerman Willelmi is listed in the Feet of Fines for the county of Essex in 1248. The surname spellings include German, Germaine, Germing, Jarman, Jerman, Jermyn and Jarmain. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Jarman. This was dated 1227, in the "Patent Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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