This interesting surname, with variant spellings Biggam, Beigham, Begem, Bigholm(s) etc., is of Scottish locational origin from the old forty shilling lands of Bigholm in Ayshire and Dumfriesshire. The component elements of the name are the Old Norse "big" from "bygg" meaning "barley" or the Old Danish personal byname Bekki, large or stout, plus the Old Danish "holm", a small island or piece of land surrounded by streams. The surname was first recorded in the early part of the 15th Century, (see below). One, John Bygholme noted in the "Register of the Great Seal of Scotland" was dean of guild in Edinburgh in 1428, and a Thomas of Bigholme was elected Magistrate of Edinburgh in 1456. On October 18th 1723, Mary, daughter of Robert Bigham, was christened in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and on May 5th 1803, Jean, daughter of James Bigham and Mary McCredy, was christened in Ballantrae, Ayshire. The birth of one, Margaret Biggam was recorded in Ochiltree, Ayshire, on November 12th 1856. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Bigholme, witness, which was dated 1426, Records of Edinburgh, during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. 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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