A patronymic 'son of James' the name first appears as 'Iame' in the thirteenth century purely as a personal name, it was in Scotland that the name became popular (as a surname) but again not until after it was first recorded in England. The meaning of James is obscure but it is believed to derive from the Hebrew Jacob, a word meaning 'the supplanter' through the Latin (Roman) Jacomus. St. James, the Apostle was beheaded by Herod in Jerusalem. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Jamesson which was dated 1379 The Yorkshire Poll Tax Records during the reign of King Richard 11 Richard of Bordeaux 1378 - 1400.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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