This long-established surname can confusingly be of either English or German origin. It is recorded in a wide range of spellings which include Brahm, Braam, Brahms, Brahmer, Bramer and Prahm, which are usually German, and Braam, Brame, Braham, Bramham and Braime, which are generally English. Whether German or English the origin is usually topographical from residence by an area of meadow land covered by the shrub known as "broom," however it can also be a developed form of the ancient Hebrew name "Abraham".This is certainly the case with the patronymic Brahms, as in the famous composer Johan Brahms (1833-97), but not necessarily in the singular spelling of Brahm. If English the name is often locational from any of three places called Bramham in the former West Riding of Yorkshire; Brantham in the county of Suffolk; or Braham Hall in Essex, the surname spellings often being local dialectal or slang versions of the original. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving rolls, register and charters in both England and Germany include: Matthew de Braham, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Suffolk, dated 1273, Offo Brahm or Prahm of Hamburg, Germany, in 1309, and Willelmus Brame and Nicholas Brahm, both recorded in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire in 1379. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Eustace de Braham. This was dated 1189, in the "Cartulary of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist", Colchester, Essex, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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