The surname of ELLERMAN was an occupational name derived from the Old English 'oelemann' a seller of oil. In post Conquest documents (1066) the innumerable surnames of the occupational type were almost invariably in Latin. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status.At what point they became hereditary is a difficult problem, but it was likely about the 12th century. Early records of the name mention Thomas Elyman who was recorded in the year 1377 in County Leicestershire and Ehelreda Elyman, was documented in 1381 in County Suffolk. Roger le Elymaker appears in 1344 in County Somerset. The name was originally from the medieval given name Elis meaning 'Jehovah is God' and was originally borne by a biblical prophet, but its popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages, was a result of its adoption by various early saints, as for example a 7th century bishop of Syracuse and a 9th century Spanish Martyr. In Wales this surname seems to have absorbed forms derived from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, meaning one who was kindly and benevolent. The name is also spelt ELLEMAN and ELLMAN. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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.
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