Recorded in many spellings including Tomkin, Tompkin, Tompkins, Thomkins and Thompkins, this long-established surname is early medieval English. It is a patronymic form of Thomas, from the nickname Tom, and the added diminutive suffix "- kin", meaning near relative, plus the suffix "-s", itself a short form of "son". Thomas is ultimately of biblical origin, deriving from an aramaic byname meaning "twin", and was borne by one of Christ's disciples, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection. Prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066, Thomas was only recorded in England as a priest's name, but after the various Crusades to the Holy Land during the 12th century, and a general revival in Christian beliefs, it came into general use. Two of the earliest Archbishops of York were so named, being Thomas of Bayeux who died 1100, and his nephew and successor, who died in 1112. The internal "p" where it occurs is a dialectal intrusion introduced to make for easier pronunciation. An early bearer of the diminutive patronymic was Geoffrey Tomkynes, noted in the tax Subsidy Rolls of Warwickshire in 1332, whilst a much later recording is that of Katherine Thompkins and Edward Bawdwin, who were married at the church of St. Mary Magdalene, in the city of London, on October 9th 1565. A coat of arms granted to nameholders has the blazon of a blue field, charged with a chevron between three gold cock pheasants, the crest being a unicorn's head gorged with a chaplet of green laurel. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tumkyns. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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