A Study of an Old British Family
As the evolution of man is a continuum, it is impossible to study the Lomas Family history without any consideration for history in general. Before English spelling was standardized centuries ago, spelling variations of surnames were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman, French and other languages became incorporated into the English language throughout the Middle Ages to the extent that surname spelling changed even among the literate. Coupled with the fact that most of the population was severely illiterate, the spoken word often lead to astonishing variants of surname pronunciation between regions. For this reason, the research of English family genealogy is confusing, at best.
Locational vernacular language
During Roman occupation, England was part of Britannia; a province of the Roman Empire. For centuries the Romans had established effective roadways and trading centres or villages. As a result, after the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, England was particularly attractive to mass migrations from foreign countries; most notably the Anglo-Saxons from Northern Germany, the Frisii and the Jutes from the Northern Netherlands and Southern Scandinavia. The exact number of immigrants is unknown; but estimates are at 200,000 over several years.
As the custom with most countries, English family surnames have always been "locational" as surnames were usually confined to certain districts or locations even back to Roman times. Certainly there were not many concentrated locations as early Middle Age England was mostly comprised of several scattered villages, hamlets and parishes all across the country. It is established that 7 to 10 thousand of these villages have now disappeared due to the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century, along with the natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348.
Regional pronunciations or local area speech inflections also had a dramatic effect on the accurate pronunciation and spelling of surnames. In the many villages, parishes and regions of England, surnames were usually spelled and written in the same fashion as they were pronounced.
Nonetheless, the use of surnames would never "die out" as the population was steadily growing and it was obviously important to identify everyone. However, the importance of surnames took on a wider meaning when the English government introduced personal tax or the "Poll Tax" as it was known.
Consequently, it is difficult to determine the true spelling and origin of many British surnames. Probable sources of the origin of the "Lomas" surname are discussed under the "Origin Page" as listed on the menu below. It is also interesting to note that for centuries a particular branch of the Lomas Family tree has resided in or near Coventry or "Foleshill". Under "Foleshill Lomases" a special page is dedicated to them as listed on the menu below.
As a result of the growth and expansion of the British Empire, there are many branches of the old Lomas Family tree that are scattered around the world. Thankfully, with the assistance of the Internet, today many Lomas Family members have significantly expanded their genealogical research.
There are genealogical posts and forums of some who claim great success tracing their "Lomasline" back to the early 1530's or even further. However, there remains a few of the Lomas Family branches that can only be traced to the mid 1600's. For this reason it is believed these branches in particular have their origin from the Mediterranean - from Spain (or perhaps Italy as "Lommasso"). Spanish origin is entirely believable as, prior to the Spanish Armada invasion of 1588-89, Spain enjoyed many close ties with Britain in the areas of trade, commerce and people. In Spanish, the word "lomas" means "hills".
All believed to be derivatives of the same name are: Looms, Loomas, Loomis, Loomys, Lamas, Lammas, Lames, Lamos, Lamus, Lamys, Lewmas, Lomack, Lomacks, Lomas, Lommas, Lomatz, Lomax, Lomes, Lomies, Lomis, Lomys, Lommatz, Lommes, Lommitz, Lowmas, Lumas, Lumax, Lumes, Lumis, Lumys, Lummas, Lumass, Lummis, Lummiss, Lummix, Lumus, Lumux.....
Genealogists believe that "Lomas"and "Lomax" are the earliest versions of the surname. Some conclude the Lomas name predates the Lomax name. Other researchers will argue that point. Regardless of which came first, the two surnames are synonymous. Over generations of family history, it is known that some members of the Lomax Family have changed the spelling of their name to Lomas and visa-versa, perhaps. At some point in time, the Lomas(x) name MAY HAVE EVOLVED to the Loomis name. Nevertheless, "Lomas" has the distinction of being one of the oldest names in Great Britain.
Dr. Elias Loomis believed the name has been uniformly spelled as Lomas since sometime in the 1700's; but two centuries prior the name was sometimes spelled Lummis, Lummas, Lommas, or Lomes. He believed all these names were variations of the spelling of one original name, and the spelling now well established in England was Lomas, while the spelling adopted in the United States was Loomis.
Can we conclusively prove the Lomas Family is related to the Loomis Family?
Further, hard evidence also exists to verify the Loomis Family connection. Consider the genealogy of John Sherwin (b. 1644 in England d. Oct 15, 1726 in Massachusetts). Family records indicate that John married a Francis Loomis (Lomas) Nov 25, 1667 at Ipswich, Essex Co. MA. Later on, John Sherwin married Mary Chandler on Sept 30th 1691 also at Ipswich. We can now undoubtedly state some of the early Loomises in America also went by the name of (or were also known as) "Lomas"; as researched with the assistance of familytreemaker software.
Today, the Canadian Lomas Family is scattered all throughout Canada but is primarily located in the Greater Toronto Area. On the other hand, the American Lomas Family is located throughout the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida; but primarily located in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Louisiana, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and California. 40% of the Lomas Family is White, 50% is Hispanic and 7% is Black.
The above graphic is courtesy www.Heirlines.com - a very good source for genealogical services.
Canadian GenWeb Links:
Origin | History | Spanish Connection | Foleshill Lomases | Location | Genealogy | Stories & Trivia | America
Wartime | Predominant Members | Coat Of Arms | More Links | References | Obituaries
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Dedicated to my Father, the late John Joseph Lomas
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