This rare and interesting surname is a variant of Elmham, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from two places so called, one being North Elmham in Norfolk, and the other being South Elmham in Suffolk. The placenames have the same meaning, that being the "homestead where elms grew", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "elm, elmen" of elms, and "ham", homestead, settlement. The place in Norfolk was first recorded as "Almham" and "Elmham" in the Anglo-Saxon Wills of circa 1035, the place in Suffolk was first recorded as "Almeham" in the Domesday Book of 1086.Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The modern surname can be found as Elmham, Elmeham, Nelmham(s), Nellam(s), and Nelham(s). Among Church Records in London are the christening of Edward, son of James and Elizabeth Nelhams, on September 30th 1827 at Sleworth, and the marriage of Nathaniel Edward Nelhams and Charlotte Crofton on June 3rd 1849 at Isleworth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Elmaham, which was dated January 22nd 1538, christened in "St. George's Church, Colegate, Norwich, Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good 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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