This interesting surname is a variant of Finlay, which is of Scottish origin, and is from the Gaelic personal name 'Fionnlagh', composed of the elements 'fionn', white, fair, and 'laoch', warrior, hero; this is reinforced by the Old Norse personal name composed of the elements 'finn', white, and 'leikr', play. The name is generally explained as 'fair hero'. The personal name was first recorded in Scotland as 'Fionnlaoich' in circa 1070, and the surname development since 1526 (see below) includes the following: Robert Finlaw (1567, Leith), John Phinlaw (1629, Balcriste), John Findlo (1639, Montrose) and Andrew Finlaw (1734, Langton). The modern surname can be found as Finlay, Findlay, Fin(d)ley and Fin(d)low, and the patronymics include Finlayson, Finlason and Finlaison. Among the recordings in Scotland are the christenings of Robert, son of James Findlay and Agnes Stewart, on November 25th 1610 at Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and of Thomas, son of James Findlay and Elizabeth Thomson, on July 1611, also at Glasgow, Lanarkshire. William Findlay married Elizabeth Colquhoun on July 23rd 1626 at Glasgow, Lanarkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew Fyndelai (chaplain), which was dated 1526, Brechin, Tayside, Scotland, during the reign of King James V of Scotland, 1513 - 1542. 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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