This unusual name is of Old Norse origin and is a locational surname deriving from the place called "Malham" in West Yorkshire. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Malgun" and in 1208 as "Malghum"; the derivation is from the old Norse "mol", gravelly soil, or "melr", sandbank, in an adjectival form as "Maligr". The placename thus means "the stony or gravelly place". There are a number of variant forms of the modern surname derived from "Malham"; ranging from "Mal(l)an" and "Maleham" to "Maylam" and "Maylum". One Anna Malam was christened in March 1641 at St. Peter's, Sheffield, and in London, Anne Malam married William Spurr on September 13th 1685, at St. James's, Duke's Place, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen de Malgham, draper, which was dated 1379, The Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard II, "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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