Osmun History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Osmun is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Osmun family lived in Dorset. The name, however, is a reference to Osmandville, on the River Bire in Bessin, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. [1]

Osmund ( fl. 758), the "King of the South- Saxons, is said by Florence of Worcester to have been reigning in 758, at which time the South- Saxons were subject to Wessex, having been subdued by Caedwalla (659?-689) in 686. With the names of other South Saxon kings, under-kings, or ealdormen, the name of Osmund appears in late copies of charters preserved in the register of the church of Chichester." [2]

Osmund (fl. 803), Bishop of London, "succeeded bishop Heathobert, who died in 801, and was probably consecrated by Archbishop Æthelheard on his return from Rome in 802." [2]

Saint Osmund or Osmer (d. 1099), Bishop of Salisbury, was, "according to a fifteenth-century document preserved in the Register B at Salisbury, son of Henry, count of Seez, by Isabella, daughter of Robert, Duke of Normandy, and sister of William the Conqueror. He accompanied William to England, was one of the royal chaplains, and was eventually made chancellor, probably on the promotion of Osbern or Osbert (d. 1103) to be Bishop of Exeter in March 1072. " [2]

Early Origins of the Osmun family

The surname Osmun was first found in Dorset at Melbury Osmond, a village and civil parish in the union of Beaminster, hundred of Yetminster [3] that dates back to 1283 when it was first listed as Melebur Osmund. "Melbury" roughly means "multi-coloured fortified place" from the Old English "maele" + burh." [4] Hence collectively the place name meant "fortified place of a man called Osmund." [4] Little is known about the place name other than the parish church, St. Osmund's was thought to have been built before 1550. It was completely rebuilt in 1745. [3]

Used both as a surname and forename, early Gloucestershire records show Osemundus clericus (the cleric) there in 1222. Roger Hosemund was listed in the Feet of Fines for Northumberland in 1199 and Robert Osemund was found in Norfolk in 1221. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 prove the widespread use of the name by this time: John de Osemundeston Norfolk; Geoffrey Osmund, Devon; and Nicholas Osemund, Surrey. Later the Writs of Parliament recorded Richard Osmund, Middlesex, 1313; and John Osmond, Hertfordshire., 1315. [6]

In neighbouring Devon, the variants Osmer, Hosmer and Usmar claim ancestry back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where they were collectively recorded as Osmar and Osmer. [7] These variants derived their names from the Old English word meaning "god-fame," whereas the former names derived their name from the Old English word for "god-protector." [5] Early records include William Osmere who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1230 and later, Osmer ater Dune in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. The last entry was as a forename and in this case, it was derived from an the Anglo-Saxon personal name. [8]

One source claims "Osmœr was the name of the English soldier whose head, when he was killed by Eadric at the battle of Sceorstan (A.D. 1016), was boastingly paraded as that of King Eadmund, whom Osmær was said to closely resemble." [9]

Early History of the Osmun family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Osmun research. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1649, 1788, 1658, 1660, 1663 and 1555 are included under the topic Early Osmun History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Osmun Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Osmond, Osmund, Osmont, Osmonde, Osmand, Osman, Ozment, Ozmond, Hosmer, Usmar and many more.

Early Notables of the Osmun family (pre 1700)

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Osmun Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Osmun family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Osmun or a variant listed above: Adam Osman, who immigrated to Virginia in 1623; John Osmond, who settled in Maryland in 1749; David Osmond, who came to Nova Scotia in 1793; Lewis Osmond, who settled in Philadelphia in 1793.


Contemporary Notables of the name Osmun (post 1700) +

  • William E. Osmun (b. 1850), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1907; Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention 23rd District, 1907-08 [10]
  • Gilbert R. Osmun (b. 1845), American Republican politician, Secretary of State of Michigan, 1887-90 [10]


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  8. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  9. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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