Bilham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Bilham family
The surname Bilham was first found in Yorkshire in the West Riding where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bilham. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Bilham, held by a steward of the Count of Mortain, half brother of Duke William of Normandy who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.
Important Dates for the Bilham family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bilham research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bilham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bilham Spelling Variations
A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Bilham, Billem, Billam, Billame, Billom and others.
Early Notables of the Bilham family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Bilham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bilham family
Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Bilham or a variant listed above: Auguste Billon, aged 32, who arrived at Ellis Island from Grenoble, in 1904; and Herve Billon, aged 49, who arrived at Ellis Island from Houlgate, in 1903..
Contemporary Notables of the name Bilham (post 1700)
- Roger Bilham, Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)