Recorded in several forms including Aikenhead, Aitkenhead, and Ackenhead, this distinguished surname is early medieval Scottish. It is locational, and derives from the barony of Aikenhead in the county of Lanarkshire. This place was so called from the ownership of the lands by someone named Aiken, this personal name being a diminutive form of the male given name Adam, from the Hebrew word "adama", meaning earth. The second element of the placename is derived from the Olde English pre 7th century word "heafod", meaning a head, but used topographically for a hill or the head of a stream or valley. Early examples of the recording relative to the surname include in 1372 the grant of the lands known as "Akynheuide" in the sheriffdom of Lanark to John de Maxwell, although curiously in the same year there was a similar grant of lands to Convallus de Akinhead, whilst in 1444, William de Akinhede was a notary public in the city of Irvine. Other early examples taken from the church registers of the county of Lanark include: the marriage of David Aikenhead and Helen Ballantine on September 24th 1673, in Glasgow, and the christening of James, the son of Thomas Ackenhead, on May 25th 1699, also in Glasgow. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Akenheued. This was dated 1296, when he rendered homage to the Interregnum Government of Scotland, 1296 - 1306. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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