Durham Surname Origin
According to Bailey, this word is derived from the Saxon Dun and holm, a town in a wood. It seems rather to come from the British Dour, water, and holm, land surrounded mostly by water. It may be derived from Doire, which, in the British and Celtic, signifies a woody place, abounding in oaks; hence Doireholm or Dourham, that is, the place or town surrounded by woods.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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