The surname of WESTERMANN was a local name 'the western-man' one from the West. The name is found in Yorkshire where surnames from the points of the compass were common. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Among the householders of Wakefield in the same register are Willelmus de West, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Willelmus Westrynneman, was documented in the same Tax report. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously. Later instances of the name include John Smith and Francesse Westerman who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1628, and Edward Westerman wed Mary Gery in London in the year 1703. George Westerman (blacksmith) was listed in a Wakefield Directory in the year 1868.
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