This is an English surname of confused origins. Recorded as Garstan, Gerston, Jerson, Youson, Yorston, Yorkston and others, it is locational and a dialectal development of the ancient Lancashire town name "Garstang". The origin is pre 8th century Norse-Viking word geirr meaning spear or spear head, and ston, - a pole. In effect it would have described a boundary marker between two control areas such as Lancashire and Yorkshire. It would seem that over the many centuries as the surname travelled around, a combination of strong local dialects and poor spelling, altered its form considerably, a fate which to a greater or lesser extent, has applied to probably ninety percent of all locational names. Examples of the recordings include Robert Yerson who married Isabelle Tyffenne at St Giles Cripplegate, city of London on November 7th 1540, Daniel Yorkston at St Dunstans Stepney, on March 2nd 1711, and Catherine Yorston or Yourston, at St James Westminster, on October 12th 1775. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a blue field, charged with three gold mascles, a silver chief, and a border engrailed in red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rogerus de Gerstan. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11nd, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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