This interesting and unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and is a locational name from the old barony of Meldrum (Melgedrum) in the former county of Aberdeenshire. The placename, which was first recorded in 1291 as "Melgedrom", is composed of the Old Gaelic elements "mal(a)g", noble and "druim", a ridge. During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname first appears in the late 13th Century (see below), while David de Melkedrum of the county of Fife and William de Melkedrom, sheriff of Aberdeen in 1292, both rendered homage in 1296, according to the "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland". Other early examples of the surname include Thomas, son and heir of William de Melkdrum, "who petitioned that he may have reasonable sustenance", in 1307, and Philip de Meldrome, who witnessed the grant of the barony of Dalkeith to William de Douglas in 1341. Sir John Meldrum (deceased 1645) assisted in the plantation of Ulster, 1610 - 1617, and was a patentee for erecting lighthouses on North and South Foreland, 1635, and joined the parliamentary forces against Charles 1, being mortally wounded at Scarborough. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Melgedrom, which was dated 1278, in the "Register of Dumfermelyn", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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