This is a German surname, and usually of occupational origins. It derives from the Roman (Latin) 'cella' and originally described a dweller in a small house or even a cave. The translation changed as the word moved north from Italy, and in Germany it came to mean a person who owned a small workshop. There are several spellings all with essentially the same meaning including Seller, Zeller, Sellman, Zellman, Zelling and Zellmer. The surname is first recorded in the 13th century, although church recordings are much later.Unfortunately many early German registers are lost as a result of the successive wars and occupations, however we have been able to find a number of examples from different areas of the county. Amongst the very earliest recordings is that of Dietrich Czelleman of Mulhausen, recorded there in 1393, and Heinrich Sellman of Hanover in the city registers for the year 1411. Later church recordings include Rosina Zeller of Neckarkreis, Wuertt, on August 31st 1740, Anna Wilhelmine Zellmer, of Tankendorf, Posen, on June 9th 1824, and August Friedrich Zellmer, christened at Norenberg, Pommern, on February 5th 1864. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ullrich Zeller, which was dated 1277, the charters of the town of Eblingen, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf 1 of Hapsburg, 1273 - 1291. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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