Inspite of its slightly French appearance, this surname is almost certainly English. The famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley had no hesitation in declaring it to be a form of Thomas, through the diminutive form of Thomlin or Tomlin and meaning 'the kin of Thom or Tom', and specifically from the North Lancashire region. 'Thomas' was generally a Crusader import into England in about the 12th century, although it had been popular as a given name amongst members of the church, as for instance, the famous Thomas a'Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Soldiers returning from the famous but ultimately totally unsuccessful, 'Crusades' to free the Holy land from the infidel Muslim, would often call their children by biblical names, in honour of the fathers 'pilgrimage'. Thomas, meaning 'the twin' was a great favourite, and it also produced many bynames or nicknames including Tom and Thoms which in due course became surnames in their own right. These in turn produced diminutives patronymics such as Thomlin or Thomson. Spelling being at best problematical and local dialects, very thick, lead to further variant forms of which this is believed to be one. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic surviving rolls, charters, and registers of the post medieval period include: Richard Towlmyne of Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire in 1607, and Robert Toulmin, also of the same place in the Wills Register of 1650. A later recording well away from any Lancashire influence, is that of Joseph Toulmin, who married Maria Sampson, at St George's chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1804.
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