This apparently Gaelic (Irish) surname is believed to derive from "Choinniamaigh", an ancient name which may translate as "the son of the hound". What is certain is that some of the original nameholders were once resident at a place called "Baile an Choinniamaigh" in County Wicklow, now called Cunniamstown. Because there are many similar sounding and spelling forms including: Cunnion, Cunan, Cunahan, Cunningham, and even Kingham, all of whom have different "roots", there is a wide divergence of opinion amongst researchers. This is not assisted by the early church recordings in Ireland which clearly suggest an "English" locational origin from a town name such as "Congham", or similar. The name as Coniam or Coniham was recorded in London in 1655, Ann Coniam being married at the church of St. Vedres, on March 1st of that year. In Ireland the registers include the following recordings: David Conniam, who was a christening witness at "The Union of Monkstown", Dublin, on February 8th 1712, whilst on March 12th 1865, Christopher Patrick Cunniam was born at Ballyglass, County Wicklow; he was the son of Cornelius and Mary, Nee Cummins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ann Coniam, which was dated February 9th 1656, marriage to Samuell Taylor, at St. Michan's, Dublin, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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.