NOTES ON SURNAMES (HULL) 57
SCAUM All notices of this name in my notes are late.
Mary, daughter of William Scaum, baptised at Holy Trinity, Hull, 1801
William Scaum, turnkey, Mytongate, Hull, 1823
George Scaum, shoemaker, 60 Prospect Street, Hull, 1823
George Scaum, printer in Beverley,1826
William Scaum, shoemaker, 60 Prospect Street, Hull, 1832
William Scaum, public house, 16 Humber Street, Hull, 1853
In 1891 there were 46 Scaums recorded in the UK census, 37 in Yorkshire, nine in Lancashire, none elsewhere. (ancestry.com)
While the name may strike one as having a foreign appearance, I don’t think that a non-English origin is certain, though Schaum is a German surname, and non-British surnames were often misspelt by English speaking clerks, and sometimes altered permanently.
Another possible explanation is a connection to the Old Norse word skamm, meaning “short”. To give some credence to this suggestion it would probably be necessary to find a surviving version of the word in some English dialect.
At present I am looking for evidence of a connection to the place names Scalm Park and Scalm Wood, in the old West Riding, near Selby. Some examples of the spelling of the name are – Scalm, 1419; silva (i.e., wood) of Scam, 1471; and Skaume Park,in 1662.
Scalm derives from Old Norse Skaði (a male personal name), and holm (“water meadow”).