Recorded as Girvan, Girvin, and perhaps Girvane although this is believed to be extinct, this is a quite rare Scottish surname. It is locational, which in itself is unusual, as the majority of both Scottish and Irish surname are patronymic, and originates from the town and parish of Girvan in the county of Ayrshire. Locational surnames by their nature are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they had left their original homes to move elsewhere. It was and to some extent it still remains, that one of the easiest ways to identify a stranger was to call him, or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of variant forms of the surname. It may be that in Scotland in ancient times few people did move, which may account for the relative rarity of such names, although it is also true to say that locational names werre also more popular where there was an English influence. In this case early examples of the surname recordings include: Sir William Girvan who was a witness to various charters concerning the government of Scotland in circa 1530, whilst one Andrew Girvane was a tailor in the town of Irvine at the same time.
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