Tams History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the Scottish/English Borderlands, the Strathclyde Britons were the first to use the name Tams. It is derived from the ancient personal name Thomas, meaning twin.

Early Origins of the Tams family

The surname Tams was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where the first listings of the name were found in the early 1300s. They include: John Thomson, "a man of low birth, but approved valour", leader of the men of Carrick in Edward Bruce's war in Ireland in 1318 and Adam Thomson who was listed as Lord of Kylnekylle, Ayrshire c. 1370-80. Closing out that century was Johannes filius Thome who was elected bailie of Aberdeen in 1398. [1]

Interestingly there is a record of the family far to the south and west in the parish of Tywardreath, Cornwall, England. "Treveryon-house and barton in this parish have been for many generations the property and occasional residence of the family of Thomson. This is now the property and abode of their representative H. Thomson, Esq. a captain in the Royal Cornwall Militia. Treveryon-house occupies an interesting situation, and claims something more than the mere mention of its name. In its front, it has four pillars of the Ionic order, cut from Cornish granite, of which they exhibit beautiful specimens. The front of this building displays much architectural elegance. The whole house is neat and commodious, and as a genteel residence according to its magnitude, it is deservedly to be reckoned among the abodes of gentility in this county. " [2]

Early History of the Tams family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tams research. Another 180 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1318, 1370, 1461, 1547, 1668, 1700, 1619, 1676, 1799, 1841, 1539, 1608 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Tams History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tams Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Tams has been spelled Thomson, Tomson, Tamson, Thomsoun, M'Comie and others.

Early Notables of the Tams family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was George Thomson (c. 1619-1676), an English physician, medical writer and pamphleteer, leading figure in an attempt to create a "College of Chemical Physicians"; and Charles Poulett Thomson, 1st Baron Sydenham (1799-1841), British politician...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tams family to Ireland

Some of the Tams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tams migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Tams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Sampson, Tams Jr., who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tams (post 1700) +

  • Theo Tams (b. 1985), Canadian singer
  • John Tams (b. 1949), English actor, singer, songwriter, composer and musician from Holbrook, Derbyshire
  • Tams Bixby (1855-1922), American newspaper editor and publisher, and government administrator


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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