This long-established surname, now widespread in Norfolk, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Saemann", a compound of the elements "sae", sea, and "mann", man. "Seman" (without surname) is noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Surrey, and in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1155. The surname first appears on record towards the end of the 12th Century (see below). Both the surname and the personal name were in use in the mid 13th Century as the following entries in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire show: Seman de Reston; Seman le Carpenter; Seaman le Baylif; and Herveus Seman. Occasionally, Seaman may have originated as an occupational name for a sailor or master of a vessel. Job-descriptive surnames initially denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. William Seaman (1606 - 1680) was an English ambassador to Constantinople, and three of the name: George, Rob and Robert Seaman appear on a "List of Convicted Rebels" (after the Monmouth Rebellion) bound for the Barbados, in January 1685. A Coat of Arms granted to the Seaman family is described thus: "Barry wavy of six argent and azure per bend counterchanged, over all a crescent erminois. Crest: out of a crescent erminois a demi sea-horse barry wavy of six argent and azure." The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rufus Seman, which was dated 1182, in the "Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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