The surname of YOUMANS was an occupational name 'the yeoman' of some estate or an attendant in a noble house. The name later came to mean a freeholder under the rank of gentleman. A man who owned free land of forty shillings annual value in the 14th century, one who was able to serve on a jury, vote for his knight or shire. During the reign of Henry VII yeomen were appointed as his personal bodyguards, and they now act chiefly as warders of the Tower of London. The name is also spelt YEMON, YHOMAN, ZEMAN, YEOMANS and YOEMAN. Early records of the name mention William Zeman, 1296, County Essex. John Yemon was recorded in County Lancashire in the year 1332. Henricus Yhoman, of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Later instances of the name include John Trevisam and Agnes Yemerson who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1539. Nicholas Sperrynge married Ellen Yeomans, St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1582. Fraunce Yoeman of Oxford, registered at Oxford University in 1596. Thomas Yeoman and Hannah Neale were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1781. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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