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Updated July 27, 2004

Possible Origins of the Surname Merriman

"Merriman-The phrase merry men, applied to adherents or soldiers, may be merely expressive of their hilarity in the service of their chief.- A. Sax. mirige, cheerful."-Jamieson. "An old term used by a chief in addressing his soldiers: 'My merry men.'"-Ibid.
It has been stated, from time immemorial, at Marlborough, the Merriman’s have occasionally written themselves Marmion, and this is probably the true source of the surname."

"Marmion, Marmiun.-A great feudal family sprung from Robert de Marmion, lord of Fontenay in Normandy, who came hither at the Conquest, and received from William the Conqueror the Castle and Barony of Tamworth, co. Warwick in the year 1066"

The Irish connection to our Surname comes in the form of Sir Robert Marmion, who entered the country with Strongbow, settling in Killkenny 1169 – 1172, and the family continued on as household knights of William Marshal. A list of Norman and Cambro-Norman surnames of Ireland shows County Dublin as the early site of the Marmion / Merriman surname.
The family name Merriman is believed to have also descended originally from the Norman race, frequently but mistakenly assumed to be of French origin. They were more accurately of Viking origin according to this one source.

One author wrote, he only once came across the name spelt "Marmian," and that is in connection with the presentation of the living of St. Mary's of Adree by the Crown to John Marmian (Mariman), 5 and 6 Philip and Mary.
It has also been suggested that the name is derived from the Meermans or Mermans of Holland and Flanders, or it may have taken its rise from a person residing near some of the Merés, or having some duty to perform in those districts.

Similar to the previous one is the following...that Merriman was derived from the word "Meer" or "Mear" (or maybe it's spelled some other way (Mir?), which meant "creek." Therefore, the Mear man was the person who ferried people across the creek. As the story goes, this evolved into Merriman.

Another possibility of it's origin is from the book: British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning (with lists of Scandinavian, Frisian, Anglo-Saxon and Norman names). By Rev. Henry Barber, M.D., F.S.A. Published: Elliot Stock, 62 Pternoster Row, E.C. 1903.

Republished By Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, 1968. "What is a name?" - Romeo and Juliet. On page 197, (under British Surnames) it says: MERYMAN [that's how this author documented a spelling of it, in this text]. "MERYMAN, From Miremont; a loc., n., France It is also an Irish form of Marmion."

The surname Merriman has seen many variations over the years, some by misrepresentation, some by dialogue as it has passed through different countries of the world, the most common variations are:

Maryman, Mairyman, Marymon, Marmion, Marmyon, Marmin, Meriman, Mereman, Merimin, Merriman, Merriam, Merryman, Meryman, Mirreman, Mirremon, and Moriman.


Noel Merriman

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