Last name: Thompson
This famous name is one of the patronymic forms of the name Thom or Tom, diminutives of the male personal name Thomas. The given name is of Biblical origin, being an Aramaic byname meaning "twin", borne by one of Christ's disciples; in England the name Thomas was found only as the name of a priest before the Norman Conquest of 1066, but thereafter became one of the most popular male personal names, generating a wide variety of surnames. The patronymic forms from diminutives, such as Thomson (the Scottish form) and Thompson, found mainly in England and Northern Ireland, appear in the 14th Century, the first recording being from Scotland. The intrusive "p" of the English and Irish forms was for easier pronunciation, although there are two old wives tales that the 'p' meant 'prisoner', or in Ireland 'Protestant', both are incorrect. Examles of early recordings include John Thompson in the Charters of the Abbey of Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1349, and Thomas Tomson, who married Elizabeth Harris at the church of St Jon the Evangelist, Dublin, on December 12th 1631. The earliest Coat of Arms is probably the following granted in Yorkshire in 1559. Per fess silver and black, with a fesse embattled between three falcons counterchanged, belled, beaked and jessed in gold. The crest is an arm holding a gold truncheon . One of the very earliest settlers in the New World, was William Thompson recorded as 'living at Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea', before February 16th 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Thomson, which was dated 1318, in the "Annals of Scotland", during the reign of King Robert 1 of Scotland, known as "The Bruce", 1306 - 1329. 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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Here is something I found while researching my mom's family (Thomson) - http://berks.pa-roots.com/familyfolder/Thompson.html