Sherman Surname Genealogy

The earliest record of Sherman as a surname was Richard Le Sherman of Hythe in Essex who was granted a license to trade in wool in 1274. 
The name was originally an occupational surname for a cloth finisher, one who trimmed the surface of the finest cloth with shears to remove any excess nap.  These Shermans were middleman who bought of cloth from cottage weavers and then sold it at weekly auctions to the clothes makers.  The Shermans of the city of York in the 14th century formed one of the most ancient of all guilds.
The main English spelling variant is Sharman.  The derivation of the word is the Old English schere meaning “shears” or “scissors” plus man implying the person in charge.  German and Dutch spellings of the name are Schuerman, Schuermann and Schuurman.  From these roots came the Yiddish sherman meaning “tailor” and the Jewish Sherman name found in America.

Sherman Resources on

Sherman Ancestry

Sherman, Shearman, and Sharman all exist as surnames in England, with Sharman being the

Early records of the Sherman
name were to be found in Essex and East Anglia.
Thomas Sherman was a church warden and lawyer who was born and
died in
Diss in Norfolk in the 15th century.
Later Shermans were to be found at Yaxley in Suffolk and Dedham
in Essex
where Henry Sherman was, appropriately enough, a prosperous clothier.  Philip Sherman embarked from Dedham for the
New World in 1634.

Sharman has been more
a name of East Anglia stretching north into the East Midlands.  Leicestershire accounted for a number of
these Sharmans.  There was a Sharman
family of Leicester with a coat of arms dated 1619.
The village of Cranoe in Leicestershire had a
number of Sharmans living there in the 19th century.
Other Sharmans were to be found at Kettering
in Northamptonshire. 

America.  Philip
arrived in New England
in 1634 with several of his siblings and cousins and settled four years
in Rhode Island.  He became the first
Secretary of the new colony.  James S.
Sherman, US Vice President under Taft, was a descendant, as were some
famous names.  The lineage was traced in
Roy V. Sherman’s 1968 book Descendants of Philip Sherman.

Other early Shermans in America from Dedham

  • Captain John Sherman of Watertown
    in Massachusetts, from whom descended Roger Sherman of Connecticut, a
    signer of
    the Declaration of Independence
  • Samuel
    Sherman of Woodbury in Connecticut, from whom descended in Ohio
    Lincoln’s General
    William T. Sherman
    (after whom the Sherman tank was named) and
    Senator John
    Sherman of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  
  • and
    William Sherman of Marshfield, Massachusetts.  Some
    of his descendants migrated to New Brunswick in Canada,
    later moved to Ohio.  Mary Holman’s 1936
    book Descendants of William Sherman traced this line.  

the Watertown line also came Sidney Sherman,
a general in the Texas army at the time of the Texas Revolution.

From the Woodbury line also came Loren
Sherman, the longtime publisher of The Daily Times of Port
Huron in
Michigan.  His son Frederick moved to
California and started The Daily Independent in Santa Barbara;
while his
grandson Frederick was a highly decorated admiral of the US Navy during
War Two.

Later the Sherman
numbers in America were boosted by Jewish Sherman immigrants.  Notable Shermans here have been Al Sherman
and his sons the Sherman Brothers, writers of musical scores, and
comedy writer and singer of the 1960’s, Allan Sherman.

Canada.  Caleb Sherman from
New England was granted
land in what became Salisbury, New Brunswick as early as 1764.  Their family intermarried with the Beck
family and their home, now known as Beck House, still stands.  Francis Sherman, born much later in
Fredericton in 1871 of seafaring stock, was a bank manager who achieved
local renown as a poet.

Ben Sherman
came to Toronto in 1905 from Kiev in the Russian empire.
He worked at his hardware store until his
death there at the age of 111 in 1982.

Sherman Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Sherman Names

General William T. Sherman was Lincoln’s
victorious general during the Civil War.
His brother
John Sherman was the US Senator of
Ohio who introduced the Sherman Antitrust Act.

was a hero of the Texas Revolution that liberated
Texas from Mexico. 

Al Sherman
was a Jewish American songwriter of the early 20th century and the
first of a family of Shermans in the music business

Select Shermans Today

  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Leicestershire)
  • 27,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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