This surname of GROSSMAN is of German origin and was a nickname for a big large man. This Jewish name has been Hebraicized as Gadol, from the Hebrew 'gadol' meaning large, thick and corpulent. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form GROSSUS. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GROSSE, GROOS, GROSSER, GROTE, GROOTE, GROOTAERS and GROSBOIM, to name but a few. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. The great family of the name of GROSS, members of which may be found all over the United States, was founded in Lancaster County, Pa. by Johannes GROSS who was born in Germany about 1736, and came to America while still a youth. He located in Penn township, where he engaged in farming and thrived until he owned some 532 acres of the fertile land of Lancaster county, extending through both Penn and East Hempfield townships. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. Many immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Prussia.
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