Recorded in many spellings, this is a surname of either Germanic and Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century origins, or it is from the Gaelic (Irish). If Anglo-Saxon it is locational and originates from the place called Roddam, in the English county of Northumberland, and near to the town of Alnwick, or from living near a rodum, meaning a clearing in a forest. The placename is recorded in the Curia Regis rolls of the year 1201 as Rodun, and later in 1236 as Rodum, so much for early spelling. The derivation is from the 7th century word "rod", meaning a clearing, and 'ham', a place or house. Early examples of the surname development in Northumberland region include the recordings of Margaret Roaddam in 1603, Margery Rodhenn in 1609, John Rodam in 1623, and Edward Roodom in 1626, whilst Ann Rodan is recorded in London in 1680. If Irish the origination is from O'Rodain, meaning the descendant of the son of the lively one! The modern surname can be found as Roddam, Roddan, Roden, and Rodden, which can be English or Irish, and O'Rodane, O'Rudden and Reddin, which are Irish. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Roddam, which was dated 1296, in the "Northumberland Hundred Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.