Recorded as Carson, Corson, Courson, Kerrison and Corrison, this is a Scottish and sometimes Northern Irish, surname. It is of uncertain origin, but is believed to be locational despite appearing to be patronymic. The original development seems to be from Maurice Acarson, the bailiff of the Isle of Man, but this is uncertain. What is certain is that the Corsans or Carsans were an ancient Galloway family, and provosts of Dumfries for several generations in the 16th century, as well as being prominent in the local affairs of Kirkcudbrightshire. The early name holders were known for their ferocity, and in 1305 John a'Carson and his followers seized the castle of Dumfries. Their later fate is not known, although in 1503 Andrew Akersane was 'respited' for his part in burning Dunskay House. Rather against the trend, two of the name bearers listed in the Dictionary of National Biography were ministers (!), although Kit Carson the famous Indian scout was rather more true to form, and Joseph Carson, a Philadlephia merchant, but born in Scotland, gave considerable assistance to the American Independence movement. In Ulster a surviving recording is that of Joseph Kerrison at Seapatrick, County Down, on October 31st 1851. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Robert de Carsan. This was dated 1276, in the "Records of Holm Cultram", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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