This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a patronymic form (son of) of the Middle English "eme", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "eam" meaning "uncle". It is presumed that the nickname "Uncle" was originally given to a man who played a paternal role to a young niece or nephew following the death of the father, or otherwise, used as a term of endearment for a benevolent older man. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and another early recordings was of one John Eame, who appeared in the 1280 Records of St.Bartholomew's Hospital, London. An initial "h" is prefixed to the name in the early 16th Century; for example, Robert Heme of Suffolk. This "h" is still retained in modern spellings of the name; such as in Heam(s) and Heme(s). A William Eames is recorded in the Register of the Abbey of Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1340. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was John Eames (died 1744), F.R.S., a friend of Sir Isaac Newton, who edited Isaac Watt's "Knowledge of the Heavens and Earth made Easy", in 1726. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew le Em, which was dated 1274, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots" 1272 - 1307. 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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