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About the study

I am researching all incidences of the family name MALHAM.

Variant names

There are some references, in my research, to MAL-LAMs and -LUMs, but I'm satisfied that these are (in this context) mis-spellings and that, by and large, both the MALLAMs and the MALLUMs are families separate from the MALHAMs (unless you can prove different!)

Name origin

The name is classified as an English topographical surname (i.e. derived from a location.) As far as I can ascertain, the only British gazetteer listings for MALHAM are for MALHAM TARN (a small lake), MALHAM COVE (an extinct waterfall, said to have rivalled Niagara or Victoria) and the nearby MALHAM VILLAGE - all in the former West Riding of Yorkshire in the north of England.

My ambition is to trace all MALHAMs back to the village of Malham in North Yorkshire (or at least to the general area!)

Historical occurrences of the name

My wife's branch of the MALHAMs is descended from MATTHEW MALHAM, b. Burnsall, WRY, abt. 1742, who arrived in the village of ABERFORD, near Leeds, in about 1762 where he worked as a Schoolteacher and Parish Clerk. His family lived there for 200 years (my wife's grandfather, Thomas was the last Aberford Malham, living there until his death in 1962.)

I have traced some 200 of Matthew's direct descendents - now spread across the world.

Name frequency

There are, currently, just over 100 MALHAM households in the UK (208 individuals) and, as far as I can ascertain, about the same in the USA. I know of some Malhams (with Berkshire connections) in Australia. I'm glad I'm not researching SMITH!

Distribution of the name

British MALHAMs are, historically, found mainly in Co. Durham, Yorkshire, Berkshire and S.E. London. I'm sure I have connected the Durham 'clan' to Yorkshire and believe that that the Londoners came in from Berkshire. The Australians that I know of of appear to hail from Berkshire


I have researched Parish Records for Aberford and the surrounding area, the GRO Birth, Death and Marriage indices, the IGI and several other sources - but have still only listed some 600 individuals over some 300 years plus!

I am hoping to publish the Aberford 'tree' and my Malham data at some time in the future (i.e. when I get time) - but, in the meantime, I'm happy to share what I've got with interested parties (preferably in exchange for what you know!)