Recorded as Dansken, Danskin, Danskine, and Danshin, this is a very unusual Scottish surname. It is locational and an excellent example of how far a surname can travel, and how different its spelling can become over the passage of the centuries. In this case the surname comes from the famous city of Danzig, and describes a former inhabitant of that place. Danzig was itself the capital of the (former) Hanseatic League, which was a trading association based upon the countries of the Baltic Sea. Since at least medieval times the League traded with the British Isles and particularly Scotland, and there was quite an exchange of settlers, this being an example of a name which went 'west'. Locational names are by their very nature 'from names'. That is to say names given to people after they left their former homes to move somewhere else. In so doing they took, or in this case were probably given, as their surname the name of their former home. Spelling being at best indifferent and accents very thick, lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the first known recording is that of John Danskyne, given as being a skin trader in Dundee in 1616, whilst Patrik Dansken was the constable of Craill in 1633. That they were well established before this date is shown by an undated later to King James V1 of Scotland and 1st of England in which it is recorded that a Henry Danskene was the royal poet and 'native servant to his majestie', suggesting that he was born in Scotland.
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