- This rare surname is a variant of the more familiar Folsham, itself of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from Foulsham, a parish and village north east of Dereham in Norfolk. Recorded as "Folsham" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Folesham" in 1156; and as "Folisham" in the Valuation of Norwich, dated 1254, the place was so called either from the genitive of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Fugol", from "fugol", wild fowl, bird, with "ham", estate, manor, homestead; hence, "Fugol's homestead", or from "fugol", wild bird, and "hamm", water-meadow, flat low-lying meadow on a stream; hence, "meadow frequented by birds". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the name include: Nicholas de Folsham (Suffolk, 1292), and Simon Folsham, bailiff of Yarmouth in 1446. In the modern idiom the surname is variously spelt: Foulsham, Foulsom(e), Folsom(e) and Folshom, the form Folsom being most widespread in the United States. A further unusual and interesting variant occurs in 16th Century Church Registers with the christening of one Sarah Foolshame at St. Matthew's, Friday Street, on September 6th 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernald de Folsham, which was dated 1273, 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.