It is doubtful if any "Scottish" surname arouses as much controversy over its origins as "Allison". Cutting through the swathes of arguments as to whether the origin was from Alyes (French) Alice (English) Alan (Scottish) or Ellis (Norman from Hebrew), what can be said with historical accuracy is that the oldest know recording is English! (see below). Certainly as far as Scotland is concerned the earliest recording would seem to be that of Patrick Alissone, Count of Berwick who in 1296 rendered homage to the ruling council of Scotland in the absence of a proclaimed King Given the propensity of the Gaelic Tribes for the clans. It does not seem unreasonable that the "Allison" surname descended from this man or his family. What is beyond argument is that over the centuries all manner of "near" names have become subordinate to Allison including Ellison, Aleseson, Alanson, whilst also retaining their own spellings. Examples of the development include Jonet Alysone (also recorded as Janet Alansone) in 1559, James Allesone, Bailiff of Renfrew in 1688 and Thomas Allison who on June 14th 1679 sailed for Virginia, New England, in the ship "Johns Adventure of London". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Alisun, which was dated 1248, in the Documents of the Abbey of Bee in Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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