This intriguing name has two distinct sources, the first being that it is of Norman French origin and is a nickname for a fierce or strong man, deriving from the Old French 'homme', the Latin 'homo', meaning man. However, it may also be a shortened or pet form of the Germanic personal names Humbert or Humboldt, the former composed of the elements 'hun', cub and 'berht', bright or famous, the latter having 'bald', bold or brave as the second element. Humbert was a very popular name in the Netherlands and Northern Germany during the Middle Ages, as a result of a 7th Century St. Humbert who founded the abbey of Marolles in Flanders. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1177 (see below); Ernald Hum (1208), John Humne (1229), Geoffrey le Home (1296) and Robert Humm, marriage to Ann Paul, dated October 6th 1777 at St. Leonardi, Shoreditch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Om, which was dated 1177, Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. 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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