This interesting and unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and is found mainly in Fifeshire. It is one of the variant forms of the English surname "Boyce", itself of Norman origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from the Old French "bois", wood, and was a topographical name denoting someone who lived in or by a wood. Topographical surnames were some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. In Scotland the surname can also be found as Boyce, Boyes and Boece. The Charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College, Edinburgh, record one Cristine Bust in 1584, and five people named "Boist" are in the Dunblane Commissariot Record in the 17th Century. Other recordings of the surname from Scottish Church Registers include: the christening of Charles, son of James and Janet Buist on October 22nd 1568 at Dunfermline, Fife; the christening of Andrew, son of William and Helen Buist, on May 15th 1608 at the same place; and the marriage of John Buist and Margaret Lundie on December 4th 1679 at Edinburgh Parish Church, Edinburgh, Midlothian. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Laurence Boyst (member of assize), which was dated 1521, in the "Sheriff's Court Book of Fifeshire", during the reign of King James V of Scotland, 1513 - 1542. 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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