This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Tatham' in Lancashire near Lancaster. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Tathaim', and in the Fines Court Rolls of Lancashire for 1202 as 'Tateham', and means 'Tata's homestead', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'tata' and 'ham', a settlement, farm or homestead. Locational names were usually given to the lord of the manor and to those former inhabitants of a place who left it to live or work in another area, and were best identified by the name of their birth-place. The development of the surname includes William de Tatham (1230, Lancashire), and Johannes de Tatam (1379, Yorkshire). The modern surname can be found as Tatam, Tatham, Tatem and Tatum. One Nathaniell Tatam was an early settler in the New World; he is recorded as a resident of 'Sherley Hundred' in the Virginia Colony in 1623, having emigrated in the 'George' in May 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Tateham, which was dated 1208, in the 'Pleas before the King', Yorkshire, 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.