This is a very interesting English surname. It is first recorded in the year 1219 with that of Alexander filius Okeman in the Assize register of Yorkshire, and later in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Sussex in 1296 with that of Robert Okman. It is with the latter county that the surname is most associated. The precise meaning is unclear. The first recording would suggest that originally the name was a personal name or even a nickname for a hard man, one as strong as oak, and this may well be the case.However Sussex was originally the industrial county of England, and the oak tree which grew over most of the county formed the basis of that industrialisation in particular the development of iron foundaries. This would suggest that the surname as Oakman or Okman was occupational for a forester or perhaps a maker of charcoal, as this was the main byproduct of oak. John Oakman who died in 1793 was multi talented. He was described as being an engraver, as weall as the author of 'worthless novels,' and the writer of popular songs.
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