Recorded as Elan, Eland, Elland, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from either Eland a village in Northumberland or Elland, a small town near Halifax in Yorkshire. Both have the same origin and meaning which in effect is an island. This may have been an actual island between two rivers or on a broad river, or it may simply have described an area of dry ground in an otherwise boggy district. Both place names derive from the pre 7th century Olde English word 'ealand'' meaning island and certainly the town of Elland in Yorkshire, first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Elant' lies in the broad valley of the River Calder, and in past times before land drainage and the general harnessing of the river, it is quite probable that it stood on an actual island. The surname itself is ancient being first recorded in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379 with that of Willelmus de Elland. He is believed to have been the lord of the manor of Elland, whilst two other recordings from the Poll Tax rolls are those of Johannes who may have been his son, and Thomas de Eland, given as being a 'taylour' of York.
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