This English and French surname of OSMER was derived from the Old Norman personal name ASMUNDRE, composed of the elements AS (God) and MUND (protection). The name was established in England before the Norman Invasion of 1066, coalescing with the independent Old English form OSMUND, and was later reinforced by the Norman OSMUND. The name is also spelt OSMUND, ASMUND, OSEMUND and ASMON. The earliest of the name in record appears to be OSMUND (without surname) who was listed as a tenant-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Other records of the name mention John de Osemundeston, who was recorded in County Norfolk in 1273, and Geoffrey Osmund was documented in the same year in County Devon. Richard Osmund appears in County Middlesex in 1313, and John Osmund was recorded in County Hertford in 1315. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Osmund, who was buried at St. Thomas the Apostle, London in 1603, and William Bannister married Margaret Osman at the same church in 1649. Charles Ballard and Sarah Osman were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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