There seem to be a myriad of thoughts and ideas among researchers as to where the Ham surname originated.  In fact, it is a very ancient name – Noah in the Old Testament had a son named Ham.  A very good reference site on all things related to the Hamm/Ham family (both here in America and in England) is:

According to Dave Hamm, the author of the Ham Country website, the Hamm/Ham surname has its origins as follows:  

  • An Old English word;
  • A Cornish word originating in Devonshire;
  • A Caithness surname of local origin in Scotland;
  • A possible French name; and/or
  • A Celtic word.   

Celtic Peoples of Britain during Roman Rule

The Celtic word ham means “home” or “farm.”  The Old English word hamm meant an “enclosed piece of land” or a “low lying land by a stream.”  The most common Old English terms describing habitiation are “ham” and “tun.” “Ham” is the more ancient and more frequently compounded with folk names. The term “tun” originally meant fence or hedge and then eventually came to mean an estate or manor – then gradually came to mean a “hamlet” or “village.” Today, the version of “tun” that we are familiar with is now called a “town.” 


Our Ham research focuses primarily on:

Joel Ham (1815-1874) and wife Mary Emily Montgomery

Robert Montogomery Ham (1852-1905) and wife Tabitha Clementine Kenady

William Neal Ham (1876-1941) and wife Julia Emma Stone

Allie Ernestine Ham (1905-1987) and husband Roy Oliver Curbow


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