This interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be of English locational origin from Elson in Hampshire or Shropshire. The former was recorded as "Aethelswithetuninga" in the 948 Saxon Charters and is so called from the old English pre 7th Century female personal name "Aethelswith" (composed of the elements "aethel" meaning noble plus "swith", strong and "tun" meaning enclosure or settlement). The latter was recorded as "Elleston" in the Antiquities of Shropshire (1247) and derives from the old English personal name "Elli" plus "tun" (as before).The second possibility is as a patronymic form of "El", itself being a pet form of Ellis, deriving from the Hebrew "Eliyahu" meaning "Jehovah is God". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th Century (see below). In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings including Elson, Ellson, Ellsom, etc.. The marriage of Mary Elsom and Richard Sawford took place at St. Dunstan's, Stepney on February 25th 1632 and Maria, daughter of Thomae and Margaretta Elsom was christened on October 26th 1662 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricardus Elson, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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