Polman, Påhlman, von Pohlmann family
The surname “Pohlmann” has been present in areas where Low German1Low German or Low Saxon (German: Plattdeutsch) is a Germanic dialect spoken in Northern Germany and parts of the Netherlands. is prevalent, probably since at least the early Middle Ages. There have been spelling variations of the surname among different families and even within the same family over time, suggesting that bearers of the name with a similar spelling might have a common origin. Variants of the Pohlman/n surname include Paullmann, Paulmann, Poldermann, Poleman, Polman, Polmann and Puhlmann2M. Pohlmann, “Vorkommen und Herkunft des Familiennamens Pohlmann,” Norddeutsche Familienkunde, no. 5 (September-October 1957): 254–56, and perhaps others, including Påhlman.
The name Pohlmann was also used in a few other regions of Germany, especially the city of Bremen and its surrounding areas, the Westphalian region, and Hanover-Braunschweig. According to the DFD, it is a German name ranked 669th in Germany, with 4073 occurrences.3Rita Heuser, “Pohlmann”, Digital Family Name Dictionary of Germany (DFD), http://www.namenforschung.net/id/name/669/1, accessed: 16 September 2023 The earliest known instance of a variation of the name dates back to 1254 – Johann Polemann was a preacher at St. Martin in Braunschweig.4ibid The surname Pohlmann was also present in many other cities prior to the Thirty Years’ War, such as Einbeck, Oebisfelde, Stadthagen, Stralsund, Uelzen, and Verden.5Pohlmann
Numerous studies have aimed to unravel the origins of the name Pohlmann and its variations in order to determine whether all individuals with this surname can be traced back to a single family. However, existing research indicates that there was no original Pohlmann family that all lineages can be linked to. The family name in the earlier centuries was limited to the Low German-speaking area, so it can be assumed that the name originates from a Low German word.
Name researchers who have studied the name Pohlmann have come to inconclusive results in their works. Several theories regarding its origin have been proposed, however, including the following:
Researcher M. Pohlmann supports the theory that the name Pohlmann and its variants come from the word Pohl, which refers to a standing body of water such as a pond or pool.10Pohlman This theory is based on evidence, such as the prevalence of ponds in Altmark11A historic region in northern Saxony-Anhalt. villages and their historical importance for various purposes. Pohlmann argues that it doesn’t matter whether the “Pohlmann” in question lived near, owned, or supervised the Pohl – they were associated in some way with the body of water which gave the family its name for generations.
This theory is further supported by heraldic representations featuring a man standing in a Pohl, as seen on the coat of arms of Stralsund councillor Arnold Pohlmann from 1401 and the tombstone of Johann Wilhelm Pohlmann in a church in Müllenbach. Other heraldic depictions also point in this direction. The author suggests that this theory also explains the frequency and singular occurrence of the name in the Low German-speaking area between 1200 and 1700, with variations in spelling resulting from the way the name was recorded in church books and other records based on its pronunciation.
During our research into the Polman family, we found that the Estonian branch of the family name was spelled Polman or von Pohlmann (from German), and the name was later adapted to the more Swedish “Påhlman” in 1650 upon the family’s knighthood at Stockholm Castle by Queen Kristina.12“Påhlman nr 501”, Adelsvapen-Wiki, https://www.adelsvapen.com/genealogi/Påhlman_nr_501, accessed: 17 March 2022 Later, the family name transitioned again upon migration to Norway and the US.