This interesting and unusual name is a variant of the English occupational (job descriptive) name, 'Balmer' for a seller of spices, perfumes and ointments. The derivation is from the Middle English/Old French 'basme', 'balme' or 'ba(u)me', meaning balm or ointment, from the Latin 'balsamum', aromatic resin. The first recording of the name 'Balmer' is that of Richard le Baumere (1305 Early Mayor's Court Rolls) and there are five possible spellings in the modern idiom, Balsam, Balsom, Belsom, Bolsom and Bulsum. There is some likelihood that a proportion of these namebearers are of German locational origin, from one of the places in Germany (and Switzerland) called 'Balm' from the Celtic word 'baume', meaning a cave. One Susanna Balsom married Thomas Akid in 1645 at Aberford, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Epaphroditas Balsom. which was dated Christened 14th February 1613, London, St. James Garlickhithe. during the reign of James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603-1620. 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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