This long-established surname, recorded in such spellings as Abram, Abrahamer, Avraham, Abramsky, D'Abramo, Brahms, Abrahamsson, Abramovitz and over seventy other spellings is of pre 12th century origin. Found in almost every European country including England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Hungary etc. it was one of the many surnames of Hebrew influence which were originally given by the returning Crusaders to their children, in recognition of their fathers visit to the Holy Land, and which subsequently became surnames. 'Abraham' translates as 'The father of the nation', and as such was borne by the first of the Jewish patriarchs, although the surname itself is not essentially Jewish. The 1086 Domesday Book for London, in the first known public recording, refers to 'Abraham', who was a priest in the established Christian church, whilst in 1170 Abraham de Stradtuna was recorded in the Danelaw rolls of Lincolnshire. The personal name continued to be used by Christians through into the 18th century, when it was also popular amongst non-conformists. The earliest known surname recordings are in England and they include John Abraham of Bedford in 1273, and Magota Abraham in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John Abraham, which was dated 1197, in the pipe rolls of the county of Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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