This interesting baptismal name meaning "the son of Thomas" is from the popular medieval given name of biblical origin. The biblical name was originally an Armaic byname meaning "twin", borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection. Before the Conquest of 1066, "Thomas" is found only as the name of a priest and after 1066 it became one of the most popular christian names. There are many dialectal variants of this name in all languages. In England they are found as Tomas, Toms, Tombs, Tomkiss etc.. Walter Thomas appeared in the Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire in 1275, while the Assize Court Rolls of Kent record a Hugo Tomas in 1317. Ann, daughter of John and Katherine Tomas was christened in 1635 at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London and Edmund, son of John Toms was christened on July 1st 1638 at Wandsworth London. Peter Toms (deceased 1777) was listed in "the National Biography" as a notable painter and herald who became a member of the Royal Academy in 1768. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tom, which was dated 1245, Hornchurch Priory, Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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