This is one of the numerous variants of the surname Thomas and is one of the patronymic forms, meaning "son of Tomlin". There were very many diminutives of Thomas, such as Tomlin, Tomkin and Tompkin, among others, and all can be found in patronymic forms. The personal name Thomas was popular in the Middle Ages, partly because it is of Biblical origin; the ultimate derivation is from an Aramaic byname meaning "twin". Thomas was the name of one of Christ's disciples, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection: "Doubting Thomas". One Mathew Thomlinson was an early settler in America, leaving London on the "Mathew", bound for St. Christophers in the West Indies, in May 1635. Nicholas Tomlinson (1765 - 1847) pursued a distinguished career in the British Navy; he was noted for his "dashing exploits" during the war with France at the end of the 18th Century, and was created Vice-Admiral in 1841. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herny Thomkinson, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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.