This surname of WASSMER was an English, German and Flemish/Dutch occupational name for a boatman or water-carrier. The name was also given to one who lived by a stretch of water. The name is also spelt WATERMAN, WASSERMANN and WATERMANN. For long periods of history, the northern part of Belgium was administratively united with the Netherlands. The Flemish language, spoken in northern Belgium, is very closely related to Dutch, and its surnames are often identical or nearly identical to Dutch. The name was brought into England from the continent during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Geoffrey Walterman, who was documented in 1273 in County Sussex. Walterus Nelesthorpe of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Thomas Watman occurs in the same Tax record. 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. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Later instances of the name mention Peter Weterman, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1613, and Ann, wife of Hugh Waterman was buried at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1655. Joseph Bull and Anne Waterman were married at St. Mary, London in 1729. A notable member of the name was August Paul von WASSERMAN (1866-1925) the German bacteriologist, born in Bamberg. He studied medicine at Erlangen, Vienna, Munich and Strasbourg, and worked at bacteriology and chemotherapy at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin from 1890.
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