This most interesting surname represents the survival of the Latinized form of a patronymic form of the Old Germanic personal name "Wilihelm, Willelm", which is composed of the elements "wil", desire, will, and "helm", helmet, protection. This was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest (1066), and within a short period became the most popular given name in England, mainly in honour of the Conqueror himself. Wilhelmi, Wilhemy, and Wilhelmy are today mainly found in Germany, while the personal name "Wilhelm" has given rise to the English surnames William, Williams, and Welliam, as well as Willmet, Wilmot and many more. Robert filius Willelmi was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, while John Wylyam was mentioned in 1296 in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Other early examples of the surname include the christening of Elizabeth Mary Wilhelmi on July 11th 1798 at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, and the marriage of Herman Wilhelmi and Elizabeth Richards in October 1798 in London. Wilhelmine Louise Wilhelmy, daughter of Carl Ludwig and Caroline Marie Wilhelmy, was christened on March 22nd 1840, at Hille, Westfallen (Germany). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard William, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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