This is a locational name which derives originally from a now "lost" medieval village apparently called Oxenham but often shortened dialectually to Oxnam. The original site is believed to have been in the west country and it is quite possible that the modern Oxenton, near Tewkesbury could be the place. The name is olde English and does mean "the dweller at the farm of the Oxen" and the name development has also included Richard Oxenham, also recorded in Cornwall in 1602, who may be the same person as the first recording. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Oxnam. which was dated 1590, St. Columb Major, Cornwall. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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