Recorded in a very wide range of spellings including Clayborn, Claybourne, Claibourn, Cleiborn, and Cliburn, this is a surname of English origins. It is locational, and probably originates from the small hamlet of Cliburn near Penrith, in the county of Westmorland, in the Border Country with Scotland, or possibly for some nameholders, although this is not proven, from a locality called Clayburn, in the islands off Scotland known as the Outer Hebrides. In its various forms, the surname is particularly well recorded in the United States of America. It was one of the very first settler names, with William Claybourne also recorded as William Cleiborn, appearing in the muster of "the Corporacon of James Cittie", in the colony of Virginia in 1626. It seems that he was granted 250 acres "by order of the courtt" in the subdivision known as Archers Hope. Later it was recorded that he had "planted 150 acres" which may have been a condition, because later he was confirmed a patent of ownership. Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say that they were given to people after they left their original homes to move elsewhere, one of the easiest forms of identification being to call people by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. The Westmorland village was first recorded in pipe rolls of the county of Westmoreland in the year 1150 a.d. as "Clibbrun", suggesting that it translates as the place by the cliff or cleft on the river (burna), which is also probably the explanation for the Scottish locality name.
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