This unusual name is of English locational origin, interestingly from both a place that exists today, Billingham in Durham and from a place that has now disappeared from the maps, but was located in Staffordshire. The latter is an example of a "lost" village, one that was deserted and its inhabitants dispersed either forcibly, to make way for sheep pastures, or by natural disasters like the Black Death of 1348. Billingham in Durham is first recorded as "Billingaham" in 1085 and means "the village or homestead of Billa's people", from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Billa" with the suffix "in(g)", meaning "family", or "people" and "ham", a village or estate or homestead. One, "William Billingham" married Mary Pearce at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1760. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margery Billingham, christened. which was dated 1559, St. Margarets Church, Durham. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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