Recorded in over two hundred spelling forms including Bate, Bates, Batholomew and Bartlam (English), Barthel, Barthelmy, Bartomieu (France), Tolomei, Tommei, Tolmio, (Italy), Meo (Spain), Bartens, Meesen, Meeson (Dutch and Flemish), Valfolmmeov (Russian) and many more, this is a surname of the most ancient origins. First recorded in the 13th century, it was 'brought' to Europe by returning Crusaders and pilgrims from the Holy land. Dating back to the very beginings of history, it has the meaning of the "son of Talmay", with Talmay itself describing one who "had many furrows", a farmer or perhaps landowner. Jesus said of Bartholmew, the apostle, 'Behold an Israelite without guile'. At first the name in Europe was given only to the clergy or monks, and then quite rarely. An early recording was that of "Bartholomeus Canonicus" (Batholomew, the Canon), in the Danelaw Charters of London, England, in the year 1199. England was the first country in the world to adopt hereditary surnames as we know them today, and the first to record them. Early examples of these recordings include Nicholas Bertelmev of the county of Sussex in the year1296, and Walter Berthelmeu in the city of London in 1334. Wernus Bartholomei was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, in the year 1274. The first recording of the family name is believed to be that of Robert Bartelmeu. This was dated 1273, in the rolls of the county of Huntingdonshire. Throughout the following centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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