This unusual and interesting name is of Old Norse origin, and is mainly found recorded in the north of England, in particular the areas of the heaviest settlement of Scandinavian invaders. The modern surname derives from the Old Norse personal name “Ormr”, in Old Danish and Old Swedish “Orm”, which was originally a nickname meaning “snake, serpent” or “dragon”. The Olde English pre 7th Century equivalent “wyrm”, originally had the same range of meanings. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The personal name was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Orm” in Yorkshire, and in 1175 as “Orum” in Derbyshire. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Orme(s), Oram, Orum and Orrom, the last three due to the strongly trilled “r”. Richard Oram was recorded in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1609. An early settler in the New World Colonies was John Oram, aged 21 yrs., who embarked from the Port of London on the “Ann and Elizabeth”, bound for St. Christophers in the Barbados, in April 1635. The family Coat of Arms is described thus: “Lozengy argent (silver) and sable (black) two chevrons or (gold). Crest – A hurt charged with a stag standing on a mount all proper”. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Orm, which was dated 1275, in the “Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire”, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as “The Hammer of the Scots”, 1272 – 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Above taken from: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Oram#ixzz27QY7Mn9a where you can read more.
Orams in Somerset:
In 2012 there was a significant increase in the number of birth, marriage and death records from English Parish Records that were available on-line. From 1538 to mid 1837 all parishes were required by law to keep these records. In 1837 the system was centralised and has been little changed since then.
Within a century of 1538 Orams are mentioned in at least a dozen Somerset parishes that have had their records published. We may just be lucky that we have access to the transcripts of the Ansford, Castle Cary and Ditcheat marriage and death, but not birth records. Therefore we can surmise that in Somerset, around 1600 the surname Oram must have been widespread, but not common.
Oram family from Upavon, Wiltshire:
There is a well documented family of Orams who lived in Upavon, Wiltshire during the 17th and 18th centuries. We have found no connection with this family.
The Newfoundland Orams are not closely related to our tree:
The original William Oram was born 1811 in Milford, Hants, England the son of William Oram and Sarah Tribick. He came to Newfoundland prior to 1837. He married Anne Sweetapple on November 4, 1837 at Greenspond. All Oram’s in Newfoundland can trace their family tree back to the original William and Sarah.
Above taken from: http://ngb.chebucto.org/Parish/oram-bon-fam.shtml where you can read more.