This is an English post medieval patronymic surname, but of German origins. It derives from the ancient Greek name 'Nicholas' meaning 'victory-people', the source of more surnames than any other baptismal or personal name. Over five hundred forms have been identified covering every European language and country. In this case the surname is a derivation of Klaus or Claus, as in the celebrated 8th century a.d. Santa Claus. Although "Nicholaus" is recorded as a personal name in the famous English Domesday Book of 1086, the name was rarely recorded as either a personal name and a surname until after the 12th century crusades to the Holy Land, when it became popular for returning "pilgrims" to call their children after Christian saints and martyrs. Klaus or Claus were always rare names in England, and the patronymic forms of the surname recorded as Clayson, Clauson, Cleyson, Clausson, Claussen, and Clawson, are quite late. The first registration in England is in the year 1399, when Henry Clayson is recorded in the Calendar Rolls for that year, although in 1330, one "Clays" as spelt, a German, was armourer to King Edward 111rd. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Ellin Klausen of Renningen, Germany. This was dated 1350, during the reign of Emperor Charles 1V of the German Empire 1347 - 1378.
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