Recorded in the spellings of Zimmer, Zimmerle, Zimmerling, Zimmerman, Zimmermeister, Timmerman, and the patronymic Zimmermanns, this very early Germanic occupational surname is one of the very first recorded in that country. This is not surprising as it describes a Carpenter or a Master Carpenter, one of the most important jobs of the medieval period. These early recordings include such examples as Cunrod Zimmermanin of Tailfingen, in the charters of Balingen for the year 1200, and slightly later in 1245 Heinricus Zimbermann, in the records of Zurich, Switzerland. Other recordings include Cunrat Czimerl who was recorded at Wurttemberg in 1335, and Simon Zimmermeister at Stadt Samosch, Lublin, in 1582. The surname is also quite early into the former British colonies of North America. After the kings of Hanover, Germany, also became kings of England in 1715, German emigration to America was greatly encouraged. There is an anedotal story that these German immigrants, particularly those with easy English equivalents, were required to change accordingly. Hence it is said that many Zimmer(man)'s became recorded in the USA as Carpenter, but it is also true that many Zimmer(man)s remained Zimmer(man)s, and areas of the country remained predominently German speaking for many decades. It is also true to say that captains or pursers of the day had enough trouble spelling British surnames, so when making up the ships passenger lists there is no doubt that on some occasions they found it easier to extemporise.
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