Monday, June 1, 2015

Whats in a surname? Lanham/Lannum

Still marvelling over my latest find with Canham being Lanham/Lannum and the resultant stretching back in time with that surname. Three Josephs in a row, father of my Elizabeth Lanham, grandfather and great grandfather all in one single episode of searching on Find My Past. I wonder about the origin of this surname now given my results in my latest round of testing this time at 23 and Me. According to their ethnicity estimates I have quite a bit of European and in particular 14.7% French and German along with 54.2% British and Irish, 2% Scandinavian and 27.9% Broadly Northern European. My Southern European is miniscule at 0.3% Broadly Southern European, 0.2% Ashkenazi and then just a general category 0.8% Broadly European. It would appear that I am 99.9% European. I have 0.1% Oceanian and 0.1% North African with 0.1% unassigned. This is similar to my results at FT DNA and Ancestry although my Scandinavian tended to be somewhat higher with them but is named Broadly Northern European at 23 and Me.

Lanham/Lannum does have a DNA study site and there are 37 members with 21 yDNA results. The members are principally North American.

So I pulled out a few surname books - Reaney, Rowlands, MacLysaght, and Titford but this surname is not listed in these books.

The Surname profiler at the University of London let me look at this surname and its highest frequency is in Australia, then the United States of America followed by the British Isles/New Zealand and then Canada/Europe.  The frequency per million as follows: Australia 54.49, United States of America 37.6, United Kingdom 16.91, New Zealand 11.99, Ireland 10.29, Switzerland 0.64, France 0.59, Norway 0.28, Canada 0.23, and Spain 0.21. The name is said to be European_Other western, English.

Then to look at the British Isles for frequency on this same site. Origin is locational name; settlement ending, ham. The greatest frequency in the British Isles in 1998 is in the Hampshire/Wiltshire area where my line is from. There is also a goodly number living in East Anglia area and spreading out from these two regions plus in the Northumberland/Durham of lower frequency. 1881 shows the same type of frequency except concentrated in the Hampshire/Wiltshire area and moving northward slightly and East Anglia but considerably less dense and none in the Northumberland/Durham area. So another rare surname for me it would appear. Its occurence per million in 1881 is 28 and in 1998 20. Its rank order 5399 in 1881 and 6661 in 1998 so a diminishing surname. Lannun does not occur in this charting.

Although my first thought was to look the surname up at the Guild of one name studies and The Surname Society I resisted it; doing Blake and Pincombe is a full time job! Interestingly enough no one is doing this surname however it does appear in the Guild Records: Marriage Index 70 times, the Probate Index 1 time, World Wide Marriages Index 3 times, The Inscriptions Index 1 time, BMD index 19 times and it appears in 10 Members' Archives. No one is studying this surname at The Surname Society yet.

This surname does not occur in The Domesday Book list of surnames:

An interesting writeup online after searching for : origin of the surname lanham

 This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, with variant spellings Langham, Langam etc., is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Old English pre 7th Century "lang" meaning "long", plus the Old English "ham", a village or homestead. These places include Langham in Suffolk, recorded as "Langham" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Langham near Gillingham, Dorset, appearing as Langeham in the 1157 Pipe Rolls of that county and Langham, (Norfolk), entered as Langaham in the Domesday Book. Laneham near Tuxford, (Nottinghamshire), which may also have given rise to the surname, appears as "Lanum" in the Domesday Book, and is named from the Old English "lanum", (at) the lanes. Such locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their place of birth to seek work elsewhere, and regional and dialectal differences produced variations in the spelling of the name.

I hadn't checked for Lannum in the Domesday Book and so it appears as Lanum. I must admit the surname is intriguing but I rather think I will stick to just looking at Elizabeth Lanham married to George Lywood and her ancestors.

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