Recorded as Seaman, Seman, Semain, Semaine and others, this is an English surname of great antiquity. It from the pre 7th Century male given name "Saemann", a compound of the elements "sae", sea, and "mann", friend or servant. Seman (without surname) is noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Surrey, and in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1155. The surname first appears on record towards the end of the 12th Century (see below). Both the surname and the personal name were in use in the mid 13th Century as the following entries in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in 1273 show: Seman de Reston; Seman le Carpenter; Seaman le Baylif; and Herveus Seman. Occasionally, Seaman may have originated as an occupational name for a sailor or master of a vessel, but usually these people were called 'Mariner'. William Seaman (1606 - 1680) was an English ambassador to Constantinople, George and Robert Seaman appear on a "List of Convicted Rebels" (after the Monmouth Rebellion) bound for the Barbados, in January 1685, whilst Joseph Semaine at St Leonards Shoreditchon May 3rd 1858, may have been the son of Joseph Seamen, who was married on July 24th 1820 at the church of St Mary-le-Bone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rufus Seman, which was dated 1182, in the Kalendar of Abbot Samson of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 154 - 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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