This interesting surname is of Old Scandinavian or early medieval English origin. As the former, it may be a nickname for a frisky person, or a metonymic occupational name for a goatherd, a man in charge of the kids, from the Old Norse "kith", Middle English "kid(e)", a young goat, and "mann", a man. Secondly, Kidman may have been a metonymic occupational name for a seller of faggots, from the Middle English "kidde", faggot, a bundle of twigs used as fuel when bound together, with "mann", as above.The surname first appears in records in the early 13th Century (see below), while Alan Kydeman is mentioned in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk in 1275. The surname is still found in Cambridgeshire, but since the 19th Century it has been more popular and widespread in Australia than anywhere in England. Many Australian namebearers are related to Sir Sidney Kidman (1857 - 1935), born near Adelaide, South Australia, who was known as the "Cattle King", and was at one stage the largest landowner in the British Empire (as it was then). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Kidemann, which was dated 1221, in the "Book of Ely", Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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