The surname of OMMEN was a Swedish ornamental name originally derived from the Swedish O (island) and EY (man). The name was rendered in Old Norman French as MAOR. The name was sometimes adopted as a topographic name by someone who lived on an island. The name has many variant spellings which include OBERGE, OHGREN, OGREN (island branch) OQUIST (island twig) and OSTROM (island river). In the 17th century, so-called 'soldiers' names are found as the earliest kind of hereditary surnames in Sweden. These names were derived from vocabulary words, usually martial-sounding monosyllables such as Rapp (prompt) Rask (bold), or occasionally names of animals and birds. The names were bestowed on soldiers for administrative purposes, and no doubt in some cases derived from pre-existing nicknames. A notable member of the name was Sir Charles William Chadwick OMAN (1860-1946) the English historian, born in Muzaffarpur in India. He was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford and was made a fellow of Alls Souls College in 1883, establishing his reputation with brilliant studies. In 1905 he was elected professor of Modern History at Oxford, and from 1919 to 1935 sat in parliament for the university. He also wrote 'Things I have seen' (1933) and 'Memories of Victorian Oxford' (1941). Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until a century or more later, and the patronymic system was still in use in rural areas until late in the 19th century. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it is thought that people may have adopted their surname from the area in which they lived. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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