This long-established and distinguished surname, having no less than seventeen Coats or Arms, and with several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is of Old Scottish origin, and is a locational name from the district of Buchanan north west of Drymen in Stirlingshire, so called from the Gaelic "buth", house, and "Chanain", of the canon. This placename was first taken as a surname in the 13th Century by the head of a cadet branch of the clan McAuslan, their name being a patronymic form of "Absalon, Absolon", Anglo-French forms of the Hebrew personal name "Avshalam", composed of the elements "av", father, and "shalom", peace. In 1208, Absalon or Absalone, son of Macbethe, witnessed the gift of the Church of Campsie by Alewin, second earl of Lennox, and in 1225, he was granted a charter of the island called Clarines (Clarinch in Loch Lomond, later the gathering place of Clan Buchanan). Alan de Buchanan, witness, was recorded in the Levenax Charters, circa 1270, and Walter de Buchanan, noted in the same charter, had a grant of Auchmar in 1373. Maurice Buchanan acted as treasurer to Princess Margaret, wife of the Dauphin of France (afterwards Louis X1), and George Buchanan (1506 - 1582) was a historian and Latin scholar of European fame. The Coat of Arms most associated with this great family is a gold shield with a black lion rampant within a double tressure flory counterflory gules. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Absalone de Buchkanan, who witnessed Earl Maldowen's charter to Sir Robert Herthford, which was dated circa 1224, in the "Register of the Monastery of Paisley", Renfrewshire, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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