There is considerable disagreement amongst the academic researchers over the origin of the name, however,the lack of early recordings suggests a Huguenot association. The name Balshen or Balchin is a diminutive of Balch or Belch, which has a number of possible meanings. It can be a habitation name for someone who lived in a house with a roof beam (not a simple hut) or a nickname for a man of stocky build, from the Old English pre 7th century 'balca' meaning beam. It can also be a nickname from 'baelc' swelling and would indicate a person with the characteristics of pride or arrogance. In this instance the name would mean 'son of Balch'. The earliest recording of the name 'Balshen' is one John Balshen, christened at St. John's in Wakefield on 12th July 1807. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir John Balchen, which was dated 1670 - 1744, who was Admiral of the 'White,' during the reign of King George 11, known as the Warrior King, 1727 - 1760. 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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