Recorded in several spellings a shown below, this interesting surname has two proven origins, one English and one Irish and Scottish although all overlap. If English it derives from the pre 7th century personal name "Leofman", meaning "dear man", a nickname for a lover or sweetheart. If Scottish or Irish, it derives from the medieval word "Laghman" pronounced lemon. This descended from ancient Norse-Viking, and means literally "law man", although whether this was an occupation or a personal name is unclear, perhaps both. The surname in England is recorded in the 12th century (see below), and other early recordings include William Lemmon, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex in 1275, and in Scotland, that of David McLamagn in 1358. The modern surname spellings from about the 17th century include McLemon, McLeman, Leeman, Leaman, Limon and Leman. John Lemon, aged 20 years, a famine emigrant, sailed from Belfast aboard the ship "Rappahanock" bound for New York in June 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reiner Leman, which was dated 1185, in the "Knights Templars Records of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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