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About the study
A study of the name 'Stearman' and variants in the UK (so far). I hope to continue studying the name in other parts of the world in due course. Stearman is fairly frequent in the USA.
I have discovered the following variants in the records so far studied (UK Births, Marriages and Deaths, Wills, Censuses). Steaman Stearmont Steerman Steerment Stereman Stearment Stearmint I am NOT studying Starman, Sturman, Shearman or Spearman because I believe those to be separate names.
The usually stated origins of the name are Stearman meaning a herder of cattle (steers) or a pilot of ships (a steersman). The earliest occurrences I have found are in Norfolk, around Aylsham and Salle in particular.
History of the name
The most famous Stearman I have found so far is Lloyd Stearman (1898-1975), the American aviator and aircraft designer, born in Kansas. He invented the Stearman aircraft.
There were 233 Stearmans recorded in the 1881 Census and 320 in 1911. In 2002 there were 455 Stearmans recorded in the UK and the name was ranked 12,218.
Distribution of the name
The name seems to have originated in Norfolk, around Aylsham. At some point (mid 18th C. ) a branch of the Stearmans moved to the North East and settled mainly in Gateshead. In the North East the name morphed into Stearmont and Steerment (the latter in Hartlepool). There are also small numbers of Stearmans in Camberwell, South London, Brighton, and Glanford Brigg, Lincolnshire. Stearmans don't seem to have moved around very much.
So far I have recorded all Stearmans and the mentioned variants in UK Births, Marriages and Deaths and UK Censuses from 1841 to 1911. I have also recorded Stearman Wills and military records from World War One. I haven't yet had the chance to do very much proper analysis of this data.