The name FREEMAN was originally from the Norman given name FRANC, in origin an ethnic name for a FRANK, a member of the Germanic people who inhabited the lands around the river Rhine in Roman times. In the 6th century, under their leader Clovis I the Franks established themselves a substantial empire in central Europe, which later developed into the so-called Holy Roman Empire. Their most famous ruler was the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). Only the Frankish race enjoyed the status of being free-men in early times. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Early records of the name mention John le Freman, 1273 County Huntingdonshire. William de Freeman was documented in Yorkshire in 1300. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many surnames. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Other records of the name mention Robertus Freman of Yorkshire who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Morse married Dorothy Freeman at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1627. Baptised. Isabel Freeman, St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1630. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. This English name, which is found in all the provinces in Ireland is sometimes used as the anglicized form of Mac an tSaoir. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames.
They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000.
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