This very interesting surname is usually accepted as being Scottish but may well be of Danish origin. According to Black's Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, the surname is very late, and may have described an "incomer" from Denmark, as the name is not found in Scotland before 1628. The first known recording being that of David Sandeman of Alyth in Perthshire. Apparently in the Danish state of Jutland, a "sandemaend" (which has the approximate translation of "singer man"), formed a section of the local parliament. They seem to have been elected officials who had legal powers of arrest, relative to serious crimes such as murder, assault and rape. They were at all times on their honour, having taken an oath always to tell the truth. It has been suggested that they were paid informers, since that would certainly have been the modern interpretation of a "singer". But given that codes of chivalry and honesty existed in past times, which sadly no longer apply, it is likely that they formed an honest "Watch" in the days before regular police took to the streets, after about 1840. Later recordings include David Sandeman, the provost of Perth in 1735 - 1763, and William Sandeman of Alyth in 1785.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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