This interesting and unusual surname is of medieval English origin and is locational from a place called Malham in the parish of Kirkby-in-Malham Dale, Yorkshire, which was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Malgun", as "Malghum" in the Feet of Fines 1208 and in the Charter Rolls of 1257 as "Malgum". The derivation is from the Old Norse word for gravelly soil, "mol" or "melr", a sandbank, and in this instance used in the sense of stony or gravelly place. It became customary in the Middle Ages, when people began to migrate from their villages to seek work elsewhere, to adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Among the early recordings in Yorkshire are the christenings of Grace Mallam on November 23rd 1606 at Ofley, and of Peter Mallam on September 23rd 1690 at St. Michael's, Spurriergate, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Mallom, which was dated 1379, Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, "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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