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Van Norman Coat of Arms / Van Norman Family Crest

This Dutch surname of VAN NORMAN was applied either to a Scandinavian settler or to someone from Normandy in Northern France. The Scandinavians of the Dark Ages called themselves NOROMAOR meaning 'men from the North. When they settled in England and Northern France, the term was adopted by the local people. Other spellings of the name include NORMAND, NORMAN, NORMANE, NORMOND and LENORMAND. Dutchmen who have surnames from towns, cities or districts, are mostly distinguished by the prefix VAN. In the United States the use of capital and initial letters and spaces is optional with the particular family. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare. The name is also an Ashkenazic Jewish name of uncertain origin, an Anglicized form of the name NOVOMINSKY, the name of a family from Uman in the Ukraine. On arriving in the United States around the year 1900, a member of this family changed his name to Norman, and many relatives adopted this form of the name. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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