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The Tatham Family

The English surname Tatham is believed to come from the name of the small village of Tatham in Lancashire. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1080-1086), and in historical documents from that time onwards.

The word is of Anglo-Saxon origin, signifying a settlement (-ham) linked to a person (Tata or Tate). Its use as a surname in Lancashire and Yorkshire is recorded from the 12th century onwards, in the form "de Tatham" as was the Norman style. Historians have researched a family of that name up until the late 14th century, but there the trail stops. Nothing further seems to be known until the name Tatham reappears in the 16th century, mostly still in Lancashire and Yorkshire, but now also in Co. Durham.

The website is concerned solely with this last family. They form only a minority of the Tathams - perhaps less than one quarter. Most of the other families are believed to originate from Lancashire, Yorkshire and neighbouring counties. Whether they can be linked up, with each other or with the Tathams from Co. Durham, has not yet been established.

It is fortunate that a substantial amount of research on the family has already been carried out in the past. From 1916 or earlier, Henry Curtis, FRCS, at the request of his friend Frederick Spence Tatham, of Pietermaritzburg, worked on his book "Notes for a Pedigree of Tatham of Co. Durham", first issued in Jul 1921, revised in Feb 1923 and again in Aug 1927. It is a serious piece of work, running to some 220 pages of typescript. Dr Curtis was a competent and meticulous family historian, and all later researchers are greatly in his debt. His achievement is all the more impressive in that he relied on such a limited range of resources, without access to census records, to register office indexes, or indeed to most of the tools used by modern day genealogists.

As Curtis's book is difficult to find, a partial copy has been posted on this Saxon Lodge website. This copy includes all the material relevant to the history of the Durham Tathams, while omitting the sections dealing with the earliest origins, as well as the index, the illustrations and some of the charts. Much of Curtis's text will also be found within the database as notes to individuals and families.

For the purposes of the present work, and in order to make the tree easier to understand, the family has been divided up, somewhat arbitrarily, into eight "branches". Details of the branches are described in a separate article.


H Curtis: Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham

The Tatham family and Ryburgh parish, Norfolk

Branches of the Durham Tathams

Coats of Arms, Crests and the Tatham Family