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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The name Thames was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Thames family lived in Oxfordshire. The name is an indication that its original bearer once lived near the River Thames.

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The surname Thames was first found in Oxfordshire where the name is likely derived from the River Thame. Aluered de Tame was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Claricia de Thame in 1279. [2] Today, Thame is a market town and civil parish. "This town, which is evidently of Roman origin, is mentioned as a place of some importance at the commencement of the 10th century, when Wulfhere, King of Mercia, granted a charter dated 'in the vill called Thames.' In the year 970, Osketyl, Archbishop of York, died at Thame. It suffered much from the Danish invasions, particularly in 1010, and a fortification was erected here. At the Conquest it belonged to the Bishop of Lincoln, and till the reign of Edward VI. formed part of the extensive possessions of succeeding prelates, who conferred many benefits on the town, among which was the diverting through it the road that previously passed on its side. " [3] The family originally held estates in Chinnor, about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Thame.

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 Thame, Tharm, Tharme, Temes and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thames research. Another 497 words (36 lines of text) covering the years 1492, 1493 and 1500 are included under the topic Early Thames History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Thames Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Thames or a variant listed above:

Thames Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Unbwin Thames, aged 27, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832

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  • Eric A. Thames (b. 1986), American professional baseball outfielder
  • Byron Thames (b. 1969), American television and film actor and musician
  • Marcus Markley Thames (b. 1977), American professional baseball outfielder
  • Josť Ignacio Thames (1762-1832), Argentine statesman and priest


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  11. ...

The Thames Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thames Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 February 2016 at 10:34.

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