This most unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational surname acquired initially by a person who was a judge or arbiter of minor disputes. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "dema, doma", judge, which has also given the uncommon surnames Deem and Dome. The Olde English element is the root of the more familiar names of De(e)mer, Deamer and Dempster, the latter form being found particularly in Scotland, where until 1747 every laird of a barony could have certain offenses within his territory tried by his "dempster", and on the Isle of Man, where "deemsters" also played an important part in the administration of justice. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and gradually became hereditary. Examples of the surname from various Church Registers include: the christening of Alce, daughter of John Deame, at East Malling, Kent, on September 6th 1584; the christening of Samuell, son of John Deam, on September 4th 1681, at Honiton on Otter, Devonshire; and the marriage of John Deam and Mary Townend, at Guiseley in Yorkshire, on October 8th 1704. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Deme, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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