This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a village in Northumberland, so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Aelfheringaham", composed of the Olde English personal name "Aelfhere", with the suffix "-ing", people of, and "-ham", homestead; hence "the homestead of the people of Aelfere". The placename was recorded as "Heldringeham", circa 1200 in the "Placenames of Northumberland" and as "Eltrincham" in the Feet of Fines of 1242. The "t" was inserted for the sake of euphony after the name had been collapsed in pronunciation. The surname itself is still largely restricted to the Newcastle area. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification. Early recordings of the surname from Durham Church Registers include: the marriage of Anthony and Jane Eltringham on May 11th 1546, at St. Nicholas'; the marriage of Gulielmus Eltringham to Margareta Wilson on July 29th 1562, at St. Mary in the South Bailey; and the marriage of Necholes Eltryngjeme and Jane Payce on July 9th 1570, at St. Oswald's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Catherine Eltrengham, which was dated September 26th 1541, in the Church Register of St. Nicholas', Durham, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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