What is the origin of the last name Latham?

The last name Latham is of English origin, derived from a locational surname referring to individuals hailing from one of the various places called Latham in England. These place names have Old Norse roots, specifically stemming from the word "hlath," meaning a barn or a farmstead. The name Latham denotes a connection to the land and highlights the ancestral occupation or residence in the vicinity of a barn or farmstead, making it an intriguing surname for those interested in genealogy and historical research.

Countries of origin for the last name Latham

Latham is a surname of English origin, primarily found in the United States and the United Kingdom. The name is a locational surname, derived from various places called Latham or similar variants, such as Letham or Leatham, which are scattered throughout England and Scotland. The meaning of the name is rooted in Old Norse and Old English, reflecting the migration and settlement patterns of the Anglo-Saxon and Viking populations.

The earliest recorded instances of the surname Latham date back to the 12th century in England, specifically in Kent and Lancashire. It is believed that the name originally referred to individuals who resided near a barn or a small farmstead. The etymology suggests that the name originates from the Old Norse word “hlatha,” meaning “a barn” or “a shelter,” which later evolved into the Middle English term “lathum.” This link to agricultural structures reflects the importance of farming and rural life in the medieval era.

Over time, the surname Latham spread beyond its original locations. It became more common in the north of England, particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire, due to the movement and settlement of families. Historical records indicate that several prominent Latham families existed in these regions, contributing to local communities and holding positions of influence and authority.

Migration also played a significant role in the dissemination of the Latham surname. Numerous individuals bearing the name emigrated to the United States, mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries, as part of the broader movement of English settlers to the New World. As a result, Latham is now a relatively common surname in America, with concentrations in states such as Ohio, New York, and Virginia.

Notable individuals with the surname Latham have made significant contributions in various fields. Sir Thomas Latham, an English judge from the 14th century, is remembered for his legal knowledge and for serving as a Justice of the Common Pleas. William Latham, an English cricketer from the 19th century, achieved recognition as a talented sportsman.

While the historical records provide valuable insights into the meaning and distribution of the surname Latham, significant gaps remain. Further research is required to fully uncover the intricate details of this surname and its diverse branches. The Latham name continues to be carried by numerous individuals today, symbolizing their ancestral connections and personal histories. Exploring the stories behind these names can shed light on the past and uncover the rich tapestry of human history.

Interesting facts about the last name Latham

  • The surname Latham has English origins and is derived from the Old Norse personal name “Lathamar,” which combines the elements “hlaða” meaning “to load” and “marr” meaning “famous” or “renowned.”
  • The Latham surname is primarily found in the United Kingdom, especially in England and Wales, where it has a long history dating back to medieval times.
  • There are different variants of the Latham surname, including Lathem, Lathom, Laitham, Latham-Skelton, and others. These variations reflect regional accents and dialects.
  • The Latham family name is also found in other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, due to migration and colonization.
  • In the United States, one notable individual with the surname Latham is Milton Latham, who served as the sixth Governor of California in 1860. He was also a United States Senator.
  • The surname Latham is associated with various coat of arms designs, which vary depending on the specific branch of the family.
  • Etymologists suggest that the meaning behind the personal name “Lathamar” might indicate an individual who was renowned for his strength or for carrying out important or weighty tasks.
  • In addition to its use as a surname, Latham is also used as a given name for both males and females, although it is more common as a family name.
  • The Latham surname has been recorded in various historical documents, including census records, parish registers, and land deeds, providing insight into the movement and lives of different Latham families throughout history.

Name Rank


There are around 21277 people with the last name Latham in the US

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