This interesting French name has two possible sources of origin. Firstly, a metonymic occupational name for a seller of perfumes and spices, from the Olde French 'balme' ointment. Alternatively it is possibly a topographical name for someone who lived by a cave from the old provencal 'baume', of celtic origin, or a habitational name from one of the various minor places named with this word. In the modern idiom the variants include Balma, Baume, Barme, Balmadier. In St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, London in 1559, one Johan Balme married Robarte Woode. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Balme, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Records Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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.