This interesting and unusual name is of Medieval English origin and is locational from places so called in Berkshire, Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, Surrey, Yorkshire and Northumberland. All the places except Northumberland derive from the Old English "fearn", fern and "hamm", a low lying meadow, thus a meadow where ferns grew. The earliest recordings of these place names are as follows; Ferneham (Domesday Book of 1086 Berkshire) Phernham (Domesday Book, Essex) Farnham (Domesday Book, Suffolk) Fearnhamme (The Anglo Saxon Chronicle 894, Surrey) Farneham (Domesday Book, Yorkshire).However, Farnham in Northumberland is first recorded as Thirnum (fees 1242) and is a derivation of the Old English pre 7th "thyrne" thorn bush, and "hamm", meadow. One, Edward Farnham married Katherine Higgons, London, 1665. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Farnam, which was dated 1324, in Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11 known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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