This uncommon and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is a metonymic occupational surname for a seller of spices or perfumes and ointments. The name derives from the Middle English "balme, bawme, baume", balm, an aromatic substance prized for its medicinal qualities, from the Latin "balsamun", aromatic resin. There has been some speculation that the surname from this source, also found as Balmer (with the addition of the agent suffix "-er"), was an occupational name for someone employed as an embalmer, but there is no conclusive evidence for this supposition. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and gradually became hereditary. The development of the name has included the following variant forms: Baume (1543, Yorkshire); Bomb (1562, Somerset); Bome (1569, Devonshire); Balme (1574, Derbyshire); and Boame (1584, Nottinghamshire). Among the recordings of the name in Church Registers are the marriage of William Boam and Margaret Batkyne, at Stowe in Staffordshire, on May 22nd 1611, and the marriage of George Boam and Alice Colliers, on June 11th 1615, in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a sliver shield, on a blue bend three gold fleurs-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanne Bawne, which was dated November 20th 1538, christened at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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