Last name: Parham
Recorded in several spellings including Parham, Perham, Parram and Perram, this is an English surname. It is locational from the village of Parham in the county of Suffolk, or the similarly named Parham in the county of Sussex. Both have the same meaning and derive from the Olde English pre 7th century word "peru" meaning a pear, and "ham", a homestead. Thus the name describes one who dwelt by or perhaps worked at a pear orchard. Locational surmes are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification after they left their original homes and moved somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at the best erratic, and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case an early recording of the surname is that of William de Parham of Norfolk in the year 1264, whilst Richard Perham, married Sarah Foot at Lydlinch, in Dorset, in 1697. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Turmod de Perham. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Suffolk, during the reign of King William Ist of England, 1066 - 1087. 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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My great maternal grandmother's maided name was "Parham" and she was born in 1879 and raised in County Mayo, Ireland. She eventually migrated to the United States. My mother has always suspected that it was English. However, when my mom questioned her grandmother about the possibility of being English she became very angry because of how the English mistreated the Irish.