This rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is locational from various places called Ranscombe, in Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and Devon. The derivation is from either the Old English pre 7th Century "hraefn", a raven, or "ramm", a ram, with the suffix "cumb", a narrow valley. In the modern idiom the surname has several spellings including Rankcom, Ranscomb(e), and Ranscome. Rankcom is a dialectal variant of this locational name, and appears to be a late form as records are no earlier than mid 19th Century. During the Middle Ages, when it became increasingly common for people to migrate from their native villages, often to seek work, they would identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. An early recording appears in the form of the christening of Thomas Rvncome on January 1566 at St. Mary Pattens, and a later recording of the christening of Jane Rankcom on September 1644 at Hounslow, both in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Rennescumbe, which was dated 1203 - 1206, in the Curia Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.