This name originated as a descriptive nickname from the Olde English pre 7th Century "waelisc" meaning Celtic or foreign, and referred to a celtic or foreign person (possibly from Wales) who came to settle in a new community. This was the case with the first recorded namebearer who moved to Yorkshire in the 14th Century (see below). Other early recordings of the surname include Davye Welchman (1544) and John Welsheman (1564), who were married by Civil License in London. Edward Welchman (1665 - 1739) was a theologian and was rector of Lapworth and of Solihull. He published an annotated edition of Thirty-nine Articles, 1713, and doctrinal treatises and texts. On February 16th 1623, a John and Lewis Welchman were registered in Virginia having emigrated there. In the modern idiom the surname is also found as Welshman, Wellsman and Welsman. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus Walesman, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1378 - 1400. 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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