Last name: Houston
This famous surname is of Scottish origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be from a habitational name from a place near Glasgow, so called from the genitive case of the medieval French given name "Hugh", from the Germanic element "hug", meaning "heart, mind", or "spirit", and the Middle English (1200 -1500) "tune, toun", settlement, village, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "tun", enclosure, settlement. The given name Hugh was introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The landlord of the placename is a certain Hugo de Paduinan, who held the place in circa 1160. The second source is from an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Uistean", derived from the elements "mac" meaning "son of ", and "Uistean" or "Uisdean", a Gaelicized form of the Old French "Huchon" which is itself a diminutive of Hugh (as above). In 1836 the newly founded town of Houston, Texas, was named in honour of Sam Houston (1793 - 1836), soldier and statesman. His ancestors were Ulster Scots who emigrated to Philadelphia in the 18th Century. As Commander in Chief of the Texan army he achieved Texan independence from Mexico by routing the army of Santa Ana. The marriage of Harry Houston to Sara Primrose was recorded on June 3rd 1634, at Edinburgh, Midlothian. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Finlawe de Hustone, which was dated 1296, in the "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland", during the reign of John Balliol, Ruler of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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.
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