This unusual name is a variant form of the more familiar surname Allen and Allan, also found as Alen and Alan. The surname derives from a Celtic personal name of great antiquity, thought to have meant "little rock", as in the Gaelic "ailin", the diminutive form of "ail", rock. It was introduced into England and Scotland, and, later, Ireland, principally by the Breton followers of William the Conqueror after 1066, and proved to be an enduring popular given name almost everywhere, generating a variety of surnames. The personal name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in its Latinized form of "Alanus", and in the Old French form "Alain" in 1183. The surname development includes Roger Alain (1246, Yorkshire), Richard Aleyns (1309, Staffordshire) and Matthias Allyn (1593, Yorkshire). Barsabe Ayland was christened in London on November 8th 1548 in Stepney, and the marriage of James Aland and Elizabeth Crafton was recorded at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on March 5th 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Alein, which was dated 1234, The Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216-1272. 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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