Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an English surname. It is one of the patronymic surname forms of the ancient Aramaic biblical byname "Thom(as)" meaning "the twin" or in the plural "son of Tom(as)". However, recent research suggests that at least in the case of some nameholders, other origins and meanings may apply. As an example, the ancient British word for a river is "Tame", as in the River Tame in Northumberland, and the River Thames, and the early church records of London include examples of Tams, Tames, Tham and Thames, without discrimination. In addition, the Baltic word for a dweller by the oak trees is Tamm or Tamms, this form being recorded in London in 1631 and in Staffordshire by 1660. Examples of the name recording include: John Tames, of Caverswall, Staffordshire, on November 20th 1575, and Rogeri and Ellenae Thams, of Stoke on Trent, on March 14th 1636. Other recordings are those of William and Mary Tams of Sandon, Staffordshire, on January 26th 1777, and Michael Tams, who married Jane Harrison at Norton in the Woods, on September 10th 1809. The name in its forms of Tam, Tams, Tammes, Tame, Tames, Tammas and Thams,seems to be particularly well recorded in the West Midlands. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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