This interesting and unusual surname is a dialectal variant of "Williams" which is the Norman form of the Germanic personal "Wilhelm", composed of the Germanic elements "wil", will or desire, plus the second element "-helm", helmet, protection, and "-s", meaning "son of". The name was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest 1066, and became a very popular personal name, in honour of the Conqueor himself. Robertus filius (son of) Willelmi was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Ralph Willem was listed in the Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds in 1304. Elizabeth Wylliams was christened on April 1st 1548, at St. Margarets, Westminster, London, while one Rycharde Wylams married Phelyppe Chylde on July 7th 1560, at St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London. Alyce Wylliams married John Baker on April 28th 1577, at St. Giles Cripplegate, London while Anne, daughter of John Wyllyams was christened also at St. Stephens, Coleman Street, in 1583. A namebearer Edward Wylam married Mary Ward Howett at St. Marylebone, St. Andrew, London, on October 27th 1866. An interesting "Williams", namebearer was Griffith Williams (1589-1672), who was bishop of Ossory, having been educated at Cambridge 1609, fled to England, 1641 and suffered many hardships during war. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard William, which was dated 1279, Hundred Rolls of Oxford, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1306. 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.

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