This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings Baleine, Balleine, Baline and Ballin, has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be of Scottish locational origin from Bellenden, in the parish of Robertson, in the former county of Roxburghshire, and also a place in the former county of Selkirk, from the Gaelic "baile an deadhain", meaning "the farmstead of the dean". The name may also derive from the French name "baleine", a whale, possibly a nickname for a person of rather large appearance. The personal name "Baloun" was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Leicestershire in 1273, and Alan Balun was recorded in Northamptonshire also in the 1273 Hundred Rolls. In Scotland the earliest recording of the name is that of Sir Alexander Ballindin, who was chaplain and prebendowy of the Collegiate Church of Methven in 1563. The earliest recording of the name in Cambridgeshire is that of Anne Baline (a dialectal variant), who was christened at Meldreth on May 11th 1635. Evidence of the French connection if found in London when one Firmain Ballain, a French Huguenot, had a son christened at Threadneedle Street, London, on September 10th 1721. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Balun, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Hertfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of The Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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