This interesting surname is of Scottish origin, and is a variant spelling of a locational name Cranston, from lands or barony of this name in Midlothian, Scotland. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'cran', a crane, and 'tun', an enclosure, or settlement. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1190 (see below), Thomas de Cranystoun (circa 1214, East Lothian), Andrew de Cragestone (1296, Edinburghshire), whose seal bears a crane and the words: 'S' Andree de Cranist', Andrew de Cranstoun (1338), Thomas de Cranstoun, was provost of Edinburgh in 1423, and William of Cranstoun was one of the conservators of the truce between Scotland and England, in 1451. An early Cranston motto reads 'Thou shall want ere I want'. Among the early sample recordings in Midlothian are the christening of Robert Cranstoun on March 28th 1620, and of Thomas Cranstoun on June 29th 1620, at Edinburgh Parish. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elfric de Cranston, which was dated circa 1190, Holyrood, Scotland, during the reign of King William (The Lion) 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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