Recorded in several forms including Kingman, Kingsman and possibly Kinsman, this interesting surname is medieval English. It derives from the pre 7th century Olde English word "cyning", which does actually mean a king, with "-man", which can have a number of meanings including friend, manager, or servant of. As such it can be described as occupational for a person employed in the king's household, or someone who looked after royal property, such as a steward, reeve, or estate-keeper. It was also used as a nickname for the assistant to the person who played the part of the king in a pageant, or for the servant of any man who had attracted the nickname "King" for conducting himself in a kingly manner, for instance, or who had won the title in some contest. In the spelling as Kinsman, this may be a short form of Kingsman or a development of 'kinnesman' meaning a cousin or realtive by blood as in William Kinesman of Norfolk in 1198. Early examples of recordings include those of William Kingman in "Kirby's Quest for Somerset", for the year 1275, and Godwin Kingesreive in the Lincolnshire tax rolls known as the Feet of Fines in 1208. Henry Kingsman, his wife Joane and their five children were early emigrants to the American colonies. They left Weymouth in March 1635, bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Kingesman, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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