This interesting surname is derived from the popular medieval given name Thomas, which is a biblical name, originally an Aramaic byname meaning "Twin", and borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection. In this instance Tomkin is the diminutive ("little") of Thomas, with the suffix "s" denoting the patronymic; thus, "son of Tomkin". In the modern idiom the variants include Tompkin, T(h)omkyn, T(h)om(p)sett and Tom(p)kiss. The name does not appear in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and seems to have found particular favour with Crusaders returning from the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th Centuries. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Ales Tomkins and George Dixon on May 24th 1601, at St. Mildred Poultry with St. Mary Colechurch, and the marriage of Ann Tomkins and Adam More on June 9th 1639, at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington. Ralph Tomkins, aged 50 yrs., his wife, Katherine, aged 58 yrs., and their children, Samuel, aged 22 yrs., and Elizabeth, aged 18 yrs., were early settlers in the New World Colonies, leaving London on the "Truelove" in September 1635 bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Thomekyn, which was dated 1323, in the "Eynsham Cartulary", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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