This interesting and unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and is an abbreviation of the Scottish name Malcolm, which is derived from the Gaelic personal name 'Mael-Colum', meaning devotee of (St) Columba. Columba is derived from the Latin 'Columbus' and 'Columba', and means dove; the name was popular among early Christians because the dove was considered to be the symbol of the Holy Spirit. This was the surname of an old Glenbuchat family, and one William Callum, in Glenbuchat, was fined for reset of two outlawed Macgregors in 1636. The full form 'Maolchaluim' was used until the 17th Century. The modern surname can be found as Callam, Callum, Calam, Calum and Challum. Among the recordings in Scotland are the christenings of Alexander, son of Alexander Calam and Jannet Pearsone on April 7th 1683 at Inverkeithing, Fife, and of John, son of John Calam, on February 5th 1687 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. One James, son of Alexander Calam and Jean Farmer, was christened on September 2nd 1736 at Dalgety, Fife. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aleyn fitz Maucolum, which was dated 1296, Berwickshire, Scotland, during the reign of King John Balliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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