This surname BARMAN was derived from the Old English word BEORNMUND. It was an occupational name 'the bearman' a keeper of a dancing bear, or one who kept bears for baiting. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and Alsi Gilbert Berman, who was recorded in County Norfolk, in the year 1137, appears to be the first of the name on record. Ralph Bareman was documented in Bedfordshire in the year 1275, and Simon le Berman was documented in London in 1281. Edward Barman of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and William Bearman appears in County Lancashire in the year 1400. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status.
The name was taken by settlers to Scotland, and Donald Barnman, a thresher (of corn) was documented in Diren, Caithness in the year 1662. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in France. Translation of arms: Argent (white) means peace and sincerity. The lion denotes strength and courage, and sable (black) was the sable fur.
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