This ancient surname is of Scottish origin and is the patronymic (son of) form of Finlay, and is the Anglicization of the Gaelic 'MacFhionnlaigh', and generally translated as fair hero, from the elements 'fionn', fair and 'laoch', a warrior or hero, which has been reinforced by the Old Norse personal name 'Finnleike' with the second element 'lieikr', play or sport, thus Finn's sport. In the Isles of Lewis the fairies are known as Muinntir Fhionlaidh (Finlay's people). In the Gaelic manuscripts of 1467 the name occurs as Finlaeic, in the Duan Sebanach, the old poetical chronicle of the Kings of Dalriada (circa 1070), as Fionnlaoich. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1296 (see below), Michael Fynloson (1478), Ade Findlaisone (1528), Robert Fyndlasoun (1585). Amongst the recordings in Scotland is the christening of Alexander Finlayson on May 28th 1749 at St. Nicholas's, Aberdeen. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Brice Fynlawsone, which was dated 1296, at Netbolge, Stirlingshire, during the reign of King Robert 1 of Scotland, 'Bruce', 1306-1329. 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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