Billam History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Billam family
The surname Billam 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.
Early History of the Billam family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Billam research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Billam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Billam Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bilham, Billem, Billam, Billame, Billom and others.
Early Notables of the Billam family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Billam Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Billam family
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Billam 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..
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- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)