This interesting name is of Old Dutch origin, and can be either a topographical or an occupational surname, found particularly in the Friesland and Brabant areas of the Netherlands. The name derives from the Old Dutch 'wier', seaweed, waterweed, and as a topographical name denoted residence by a place where such waterweed was profuse; as an occupational surname 'Wiersma' or 'Wierdsma' described one whose job it was to clear the weed away from canal-banks, for instance. Rietstap's 'Armorial General' records the coat of arms of the Wierdsman family of Friesland and Brabant in circa 1680, consisting of a shield divided in two, one side of gold with a demi-eagle, black, and the other of silver with three ears of corn on a green field. The marriage of Tettie Wiersma and Sipke Hoitinga was recorded at Schettens in Friesland, Holland, on October 17th 1663. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bauchien Wiersma (marriage to Aelse Syckema), which was dated October 28th 1643, Grijpskerk, Groningen, Netherlands, during the reign of Frederick Henry, Stadtholder and Prince of Orange, 1625-1647. 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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