This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from the parish and village of Passenham, south west of Wolverton in Northamptonshire. Recorded as "Passanhamm" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 921, and as "Passenham" in the Domesday Book of 1086, the initial element of the placename is the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Passa", with "hamm", translating variously as "enclosure, meadow" (especially a flat low-lying meadow on a stream), or "enclosed plot"; hence, "Passa's hamm". 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. The surname is now most widely recorded in the Hampshire/Sussex area, and entries in Church Registers of these counties include the christening of Peter, son of John Passingham, at Medstead, Hampshire, on June 28th 1563, and the marriage of John Passingham to Elizabeth Morie, at Midhurst, Sussex, on January 28th 1571. One of the earliest appearances of the name in London Registers is the marriage of Margaret Passingham and Thomas Hall at St. Dionis Backchurch, on June 2nd 1636. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Passingham, which was dated February 9th 1560, witness at the christening of his daughter, Ide, at Medstead, Hampshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.