This is an ancient Scottish surname, where the clan are known as 'Glassford and all that Ilk'. The name is recorded in the spellings of Glasford, Glassford and Glasfurd, it is said that they derive their name from the area known as 'the lands of Glasforde, in Stratheven, Lanarkshire', in the 13th century. Certainly the first name-holder as shown below was recorded as being in the service of the English government, south of the Forth Estuary, although for what reason is unclear. In 1296 the Scots formed a short lived republic called 'The Interregnum' from 1296 to 1306, when it was overthrown by the famous Robert, the Bruce. During this time Roger de Galsford and his son known as Aleyn fitz Roger de Glasfrithe, so much for early spelling, rendered homage to this government. This 'Aleyn' may be Sir Alan Glasfrud, who in 1300 was a charter witness. Other early recordings include Willelmus de Glasfurd in the year 1413, whilst in 1636 John Glasfuird of Maxwell was confirmed as heir to John Duncane of Barnaycht. The translation of the name is quite different from its appearance being probably the Olde English pre 7th century 'glassjo' meaning stream, and 'frith', a forest - the forest stream. In the USA the name reached prominence in 1929, Major General Glassford being chief of police in Washington D C. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Glasfrith, which was dated 1289, in Bain's 'Register of Scottish documents', Edinburgh, during the reign of Queen Margaret of Norway, reigned in Scotland 1286 - 1290. 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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