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The proposed Origin of The Grahams
November 3, 2013
9:57 pm
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November 3, 2013
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Greetings again ! Following on from my first Post of a few minutes ago, I thought that this Forum would be the ideal place for the following query ! Hope I'm not being a pest with two Posts in one day !
I have read on Websites various, that most people , qualified to make comments, truly believe that all the Grahams of today are descended from one William de Grahame, a Norman Knight, who was in the ranks of William the Conqueror. Thes folk say that William de G. was such a good Knight for his Boss, that he was rewarded for his services with a Grant of land in Lincolnshire.....Grantham, and they say , that is how the Graham name came about. Now for MANY years I have been interested in how people speak, and I believe that certain traits of pronounciation travel from one Generation to another.
With that in mind, I think just how a guy , from Scotland would pronounce the Placename :- "Grantham". I believe that the " th " in the middle, would if started in about 1100 ad, still be spoken "th" today. I am not familiar with the Lincolnshire Dialect, but I'm sure that the " th" would survive there as well.
Now when you hear a Scot pronounce the name Graham, no matter how it's spelt, 99 time out of 100 , it sounds like :-" Gream", or "Greem".
For the life of me I can't believe we all " started off" from William de Graham, meaning there were no Grahams before that guy ! Hey ! What about " Graham's Dyke ?"...what about the Pictish Chrieftain Grammas ( or Gram) who is said to have Breached the Antonine wall on several occasions ?.....what about the FACT that hundreds of Grahams today, have the J1 Genes originating in The Middle East....those Genes certainlly did Not come from a Norman Knight !
I would highly value any comments from Members concerning the above ! Cheers the ' noo , Bruce Graham!

July 5, 2017
9:46 am
Forum Posts: 38
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December 16, 2015
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Hello Bruce,

It would appear that there are many assumptions underlying your post which should break down under examination.
First: bear in mind that surnames are in essence affectation and the great majority of bearers of almost all clan surnames bear no blood relationship with the chiefly lines - so there is no problem at all with your apparent DNA anomalies. And so no... the vast bulk of you did NOT 'start off' from William de Grahame. However it would be well for you to start from the assumption that the "de" indicates that what follows is likely to be geographical.
Second: As for "Graham's Dyke" Scottish history is littered with examples of fantastic claims to antiquity. Even let us suppose that someone called Grim breached the Antonine Wall at some time (this was happening all the time so it is no big deal) the problem is that there were no surnames at that time and so any connection is at best serendipitous
Third: There have been major changes in pronunciation (think water and daughter for example).
Fourth: Let's break Grantham down. You focus on the "th" - but this is problematic, for really it is Grant-ham - the hamlet on the gravel. So the development of the spoken "th" is a sophomore-style mistake by people who READ the name - and that mistake has become the accepted norm. However it is precisely the disjunction between these two original parts which would stimulate the loss of the middle altogether. [However you may be aware that Black says that Graham derives from a Grey-ham in Domesday Book.]
Fifth: so far as I understand it the earliest lands held by Grahams were around Abercorn and Dalkeith - a bit problematic for a Pict! But many incomers to the Highlands felt the need to fabricate a Pictish origin to fit in with the natives. [And think of that magnificent pile of rubbish which is the so-called (by Skene) Manuscript 1467 - now definitively demonstrated to be a concoction deriving from just about Skene's date for it.]

While the adoption of surnames amongst the aristocracy proceeded gradually from c1095, for the 'ordinary clansmen' adoption of this style was some centuries later and was for a long time less than firmly set - witness the Boll o' meal Frasers, the Trochie Grants and the way surnames have been adopted by males marrying a clan heiress etc.

Recommended reading: "Scottish Clans: Legend, Logic and Evidence"

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