Recorded as Tatham, Tattam, Tatum, Tatem and Tatton, this is an English surname. It is locational from either Tatham, a village in Lancashire near the city of Lancaster, or Tatton and Tetton, both being villages in the adjoining county of Cheshire. All have the same translation of Tata's homestead, from the pre 7th century personal name Tata and "ham or tun", a settlement. All are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Locational names were usually given to the lord of the manor or to former inhabitants of a place who left to live or work in another area, and were best identified by the name of their birth-place. The development of the surname includes William de Tatham in Lancashire in the year 1230, Andrew de Tattone in Hampshire in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, Robert de Tatton of Cheshire in 1290, and Johannes de Tatam in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1379. William Tatton of Cheshire was a student at Oxford University in 1601, whilst Nathaniell Tatam was an early settler in the New World. He is recorded as a resident of 'Sherley Hundred' in the Virginia Colony in 1623, having emigrated in the ship George of London in May 1619. The first recorded spelling is shown to be that of William de Tateham, which was dated 1208, in the 'Pleas before the King', Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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