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Thomas Family History
There are over two hundred different spellings of the Thomas name, including the British Tomos 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, and the Swedish Thomasson.
It derives from the Aramaic word for twin (t'om'a), and it became popular as a personal name because of its associations with the early Christian disciple, Thomas. The personal name was popular throughout the Christian world, initially as a priest's name before the Crusades in the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Thomas is a Welsh, English, French, German, Dutch and Danish surname. It is also found in considerable numbers amongst India's Christian population.
On the 1881 UK census, most examples of the surname in the UK were found in Glamorgan.
The entire Thomas population of England and Wales in 1891 was 133,389. The heaviest concentrations of the surname in Britain that year were in the Welsh counties of Glamorgan (32,752) and Carmarthenshire (12,378), followed by the English county of Lancashire (8,252). The remainder of Wales, Lancashire and Cornwall also had significant numbers.
The top two occupations for bearers of this surname in England and Wales in 1891 were farmer and coal miner.
The surname was established early in southern England, particularly Kent where Hugo Thomas appears in the Assize Rolls for 1317. However, as an anglicisation of the Welsh form of the name Tomos it is mostly associated with Wales, where it was, originally, a patronymic name, 'ap Tomos' (or 'ap Thomas'), meaning son of Thomas. It developed into a fixed, hereditary surname between the 16th and 19th centuries, depending on where in Wales the family lived.
An early Welsh bearer was David Thomas, recorded in 1675 in the International Genealogical Index. The proximity to Wales may explain the high number of Thomas entries that appear on the 1881 census of Bristol, occupying second place in the city with approximately 9,000 bearers.
The modern English population is approximately 138,916; and in Wales it is 71,063. The French population is considerable also, approximately 114,224.
1881, 1891 Census
International Genealogical Index, Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons).
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland Hanks, Coates, McClure OUP 2016.
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
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