The name of HAMELIN was derived from the Old English Haimo - a baptismal name 'the son of Hamon'. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. Early records of the name mention Robertus filius Hamelin, 1130 County Devon. Robertus Hamelyn was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised. Margaret Hamlin, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1618. John Bean married Ann Hamblen, St. George's, Hanover Square, in 1799.
A notable member of the name was Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891) the American statesman, born in Paris, Maine. He practised law (1833-48) and was speaker of the Maine house of representatives, and was returned to Congress in 1842 and 1844. In 1861 he became vice-President under Lincoln. He was in the senate again between 1869 and 1881, and was the minister to Spain from 1881 until 1882. For the majority of the English speaking peoples, the main sources of names have been the traditions of the various Germanic tribes of Northern Europe, and the names introduced by the Church, perhaps Hebrew names of the Old Testament, or Greek and Roman names of the New Testament and saints. Many names were brought over to England by the invading Anglo-Saxons, a mixed collection of people from various Germanic tribes, speaking various dialects which were called Old English.
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