This interesting surname derives from the Old French "bon" meaning good plus "homme" a man and was originally given as a nickname to a kindly or friendly person, or to an individual worthy of admiration and respect. occasionally it may have been of French Locational origin from a pass in the vosges mountains called "Bonhomme", between Saint-Die and colmar. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century, (see below). One William Bonham, is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex (1327). On October 13th 1629, Susanne, daughter of Andre Bonhomme, was christened in the French Huguenot church, Threadneedle Street, London. Two brothers, Henri and Leonard Bonhomme, were artist glassmakers between 1639 and 1682 in Liege, Belgium. A coat of arms granted to Bonhomme family of Liege consists of a shield divided horizontally silver and gold, with a red lion in the upper half and a red saltire in base. Leopold Joseph Ignace de Bonhomme was made Baron of St. Empire on July 4th 1789. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Bonham, Bonhome, Bonhan, Bonome, etc.. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigel Bonhume, (witness), which was dated 1247, Assize court Rolls of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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