The surname was a baptismal name 'the son of Abraham' a popular font name in the 13th century. Early records of the name mention ABRAHAM (circa 2000-1650 BC). He was revered in the Old Testament as the father of the Hebrew people. According to Genesis he came from the Sumerian town of Ur in modern Iraq and migrated with his family and flocks via Haran (the ancient city of Mari) to the 'Promised Land' of Canaan, where he settled. After a while in Egypt, he lived to be 175 years old, and was buried with his first wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Abraham is generally regarded as the father of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. John Abraham, was documented in the year 1273 in the County of Bedford. Magota Abraham of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Abraham was documented in the parish of Sephton in the year 1617. An eminent member of the name was William Abraham (1842-1922) the Welsh trade unionist and politician, born in Glamorgan. He was a leading figure in the miner's union. He was elected as MP for Rhondda from 1885 to 1918, and devoted himself to mining legislation. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.