This curious name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant form of the locational surname Mileham, from the place so called near East Dereham in Norfolk. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Meleham, Muleham", and in the 1160 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk as "Meleham", and means "the homestead or village with a mill", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mylen", mill, and "ham", village, estate, homestead. Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor, and local landowners, and were used particularly by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.Regional dialectal differences and varying standards of literacy subsequently gave rise to a number of variant forms of the original name. In this instance, the modern surname forms range from Mil(e)ham, Millam and Millem, to Mellam, Melame, Mellem and Mellum. Examples of the name from Church Registers include: the christening of Jane, daughter of Robert Mellam, at St. Saviour's, Norwich, Norfolk, on September 20th 1638; the marriage of Thomas Mellem and Mary Harden, at Baldock in Hertfordshire, on November 11th 1684; and the christening of Mary, daughter of Samuel Mellem, on November 14th 1757, at St. Sepulchre, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a gold fesse between three gold griffins' heads, on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Myleham, which was dated March 19th 1539, witness to the christening of his son, Steven, at Wingfield, in Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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