This unusual name is of Old French origin, and is one of the diminutive forms of the surname Ham(m)on(d), itself developed from the Norman personal name "Hamo, Hamon", introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The Normans adopted the name from the Old Germanic "Haimo", a short form of various compound personal names with the first element "haim", home; it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Hamo, Haimo", and "Hamon", and with an excrescent "d" in the Latinized Hamandus". That this personal name achieved popularity in England during the Middle Ages is well borne out by the number and variety of surnames it has generated; these range from the diminutives Hamnet(t), Hamlett and Hambly to the patronymic forms Ham(p)son, Ha(i)mes and Haymes. The personal name was still in use in the 16th Century; one Hamynet Harrington, "gentleman usher" is recorded in Letters and Papers (Foreign and Domestic) of Henry V111, and a Hamnett Warburton is mentioned in Lancashire Registers as late as 1631. Examples of the name from London Church Registers include: the christening of Hugh, son of Hugh Hamnett, on September 21st 1633, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the marriage of Thomas Hamnett and Maria Blakesley at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, on January 1st 1643. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Hamet, which was dated 1297, in "Minister's Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", 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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