The German surname of KEESE was an occupational name for a maker or seller of cheeses. The name was originally derived from the Old English word CYSE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CASEUS (cheese). The name has spread widely in many forms and variants of the name include CHEESMAN, CHESEMAN, CHIESE, CHERRETT, KASER, KAASMAN, KEESMAN, CAESMAN and KAES, to name but a few. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. Early records of the name in England include Baldwin le CHESEMANGERE who appears in London in 1186, and is the first of the name found recorded. Henry le CHESEMAN who was mentioned in 1260 in County Cambridge, and William le CHESMAN appears in 1300 in County Sussex. John le CHESEMAN was documented in the year 1273 in County Huntingdonshire. Adam la CHISEMAN of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
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