Recorded in various spelling forms including Eam, Eim, Eyam, Eyme and Eyum, this is an English surname. It is locational from a village called Eyam, in Derbyshire, infamous for being the place where the Bubonic Plague of the year 1665 is believed to have started. This is strange as a more idyllic spot than Eyam would be hard to find. As aresult of the plague the village was largely deserted with the majority of the surviving inhabitants fleeing to other areas. People who left their homes to move elsewhere were often identified by the name of their original home. Spelling in the 17th century being at best erraatic, and local accents very thick often lead to the development of 'sounds like; surname spellings. In this case the village name was already unusual, so it is hardly surprising that surnames associated with it also developed interesting forms. 'Eyam' is from the pre 7th century Olde English 'egum' meaning island, although this word did not necessarily describe a place surrounded by water, it may just as easily be a cultivated spot in a forest or on a moor, as may be the case here. Early examples of the name recording include Faith Emm, who married Richard Malt at the church of Allhallows, London Wall, on October 10th 1652, Robert Eyme, a eitness at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on March 25th 1684, and William Eam, who married Liz Meakins at Risley, derbyshire, on March 6th 1810.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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