This is an English surname. Recorded in a wide range of spellings which include Northam, Northin, and Noram, it is a locational surname. It originates from the villages called Noratham found in the counties of Devonshire and Hampshire. The origin is from the pre 7th century Olde English "nor-hamm" meaning the low lying land to the north, or possibly "nor-ham" meaning North Farm from nor and ham, the homestead. The surname was not only very early in England as shown below, it was also one of the earliest into the New England colonies of America, with Joseph Northin sailing to Virginia on the ship "Pleine-Jane of London" on May 15th 1635, in the reign of King Charles Ist. In the New York city street directory of 1880, it is said that there were three Northams recorded, as against only one in London, and four in Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Northam. This was dated 1214, in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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