- This interesting European surname of which there at least seventy spellings, derives from the Hebrew personal name "Adam". This, according to The book of Genesis was the first of all names to be borne by man. The name is a derivative of the ancient word "adama", meaning earth. The Greek legend has it that Zeus fashioned the first humans from the earth, which would seem to be correct. Either way the name, as a given name, was very popular among the non-Jews throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. This was because of the famous, if unsuccessful, "crusades" to free Jerusalem from the "infidel". There were at least twelve attempts, all of Europe being involved. In commemoration returning soldiers gave their sons biblical names, "Adam" in its many forms, being one of them. The earliest of all "surname" recordings were in England, this being the first place in Europe to have a centralised parliament and bureaucracy. Examples taken from early recordings include Adam Warenarius of Lincolnshire in 1146, John Adamsone in Scotland in 1296, and William Adames of Worcester, England in 1327. Other examples taken from authentic civil and religious registers include Robert Adams, married in Stepney, London, England, in 1573, and in Spain, Domingo Adanez was christened at Miranda de Arga, Valladolid, on May 21st 1605. The second president of the United States, John Adams (1735 - 1826), and his son John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848), who became the sixth president. His great grandfather came from Somerset, England, in 1640. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alianor Adam, which was dated 1281, witness in the "Assize Rolls of Cheshire", 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.