Recorded in over two hundred spelling forms ranging from the British Tomas and Thomas, the Italian Tommasi and Toma, the German Thom, Thomas, Thoma, Thumm, and Thome, the Slavonic Tomaschek, the Russian Fominov, the Belorussian Tomich and Khomich. the Swedish Thomasson, and many, many, others, the origin is Aramaic. The translation being 'the twin', as in twin- brother, and it was born by St. Thomas, one of the early Christian disciples. The name was relatively popular throughout the Christian world, but as a priest's name only, in the period before the religious revival and the Crusades to free the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th centuries. Its later popularity throughout Europe from Spain to the Russian Steppes, developed partly as a result of Crusader influence, but more so after the murder of Thomas a 'Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in England, in 1170. The first examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic rolls and registers of the medieval period include: Richard Thome of York, England, in 1293, Walter Thomas of Warwickshire, in the Hundred Rolls of 1301, and Dieter Thumm of Wolfschlugen, Germany, in 1327. An interesting recording is that of Christopher Thomas, who was one of the earliest emigrants to the New England colonies, when he embarked on the ship 'Plaine Joan' of London, on May 7th 1635, bound for Virginia. This was during the reign of Charles 1st of England, known as 'The martyr'. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Henneko Thom, given as being a Burger of Hamburg, Germany, in the year 1252. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.