Woolliams is an interesting example of how a name may derive from two distinct sources. One possibility is the topographical name Wolland, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "woh", meaning curved or crooked land, and "land" (land). The suffix "s" indicates a quality of land or alternatively, the patronymic form ("son of"). Thus Wooland would have indicated "a dweller or son of a dweller by the curved or crooked land". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. On the other hand, Wooliams may be a variant form of William, the Olde English personal name composed of the German elements "wil" (will, desire), and "helm" (helmet, protection). This was introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Conquest of 1066, and within a short period of time, enjoyed great popularity as a given name. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Jane Woolam on April 10th 1575, at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, and the christening of Mary Woolams at Christ Church in Stepney, on July 6th, 1671. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Samuel Wollams, which was dated 1637, in the "Register of the Freemen of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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