This English surname is scattered across the world. Quite rare in most of its spellings, of which it has a number, it is an interesting example of how 'names' have (often) been distorted in spelling over the centuries - by a combination of local accents, which were very thick, and dodgy spelling, - which was world wide. The origin is locational and medieval from a village called Malham in the county of North Yorkshire, a place famous world-wide for its limestone cliffes, or just possibly in some cases from Mallams, a tiny hamlet in the county of Dorset, near the town of Weymouth. The place name probably means 'the place (ham) in the cliffes. The recorded surname spellings are known to include Malam, Maleham, Malim, Malham, Mallam, and when recorded in the former British Empire, Malme, although this can be Scandanavian, Melam, Melame, and possibly the Irish Mawlam, Molam, Mowlam, Mullam, and Mullham. Locational surnames were given to people after they had left their original homes and moved elsewhere - as an easy form of identification by their new neighbours. If the movement was literally from 'abroad' it could be national, and not always friendly, as in Symon le Frencsh of Wiltshire in 1273. The main reasons why people moved particularly after the 16th century, were changes in farming practices, particularly the introduction of sheep, and the development of industry which reached a peak in the 18th. In addition these seed changes coincided with the development of the British Empire from the time of King James 1st of England and 1Vth of Scotland (1603 - 1625), when over the centuries millions left for new lives in the colonies and provinces. This could cause further changes to the spelling. The first recording of this surname is probably that of Adam de Mallam in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379. Later in the city of London we have examples such as Dudley Malym, christened at the church of St All Hallows the Less on on July 6th 1571, and Alice Malim who married Christopher Keene at the church of St Mary Mouthaw, on August 3rd 1595, both in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st 1558 - 1603.