This surname GERMANN was derived from the Latin Germanus, this sometimes denoted an actual immigrant from Germany, but was also used to refer to a person who had trade or other connections with the country. The Latin word Germanus is of obscure and disputed origin, the most plausible of the etymologies that have been proposed is that the people were originally known as the 'Spear-men', with GERI (Spear) as its first element. Early records of the name mention Germanus (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William the Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Jermain filius Willelmi, 1248, County Essex. Other notable members are Johannes Germayne of County Southampton in 1273 and Simon Germayne of County Oxfordshire. Germanus Benson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 as was Germanus Gardyner. There was a baptism in the year 1646 of John, son of William and Jone German, at St James's, Clerkenwell, London and another in 1672 of John, son of William and Grace Jermane. A later record of Sir Edward German (originally Edward German Jones) is recorded as an English composer, born in Whitechurch, Shropshire, in the year 1862. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and in 1888 he was made musical director for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and became known for incidental music to Shakespeare. He later died in 1936. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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