This is a very interesting name, whose origins are open to some considerable speculation. The eminent Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley decided that "Westerman" was originally specific to Yorkshire and particularly the area between Wakefield and Leeds. The recordings suggested that this theory is correct, but it does not explain the name, or why Westerman's should be concentrated in this way. The conventional belief is that the surname describes "a man from the West" but this seems rather too loose an explanation. It is our belief that the name describes a Welshman or Cornishman, somebody who by medieval standards would have been to all intents and purposes, a foreigner. Had a person come from the next village or even county, they would have been given that place as an identification, calling somebody a "Westman or Westerman" implies a general area far away. What is certain is that the name has been recorded (mainly in Yorkshire) since the beginning of surnames, and these examples include Thomas Westman of Leeds in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls, and Willelmus Westrynneman of Wakefield in the same records. Later registrations from church records include Agnes Westerman of Kippax, Yorkshire, who was christened on February 20th 1593, and Alice Westman of Rothwell, Leeds, who was christened on December 19th 1573. The name moved to London about the same period, John Smith marrying Frances Westerman at St Dionis Backchurch, on July 1st 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Westeman, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Rolls of York, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux" 1377-1399. 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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