This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Greystones, near Sheffield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stanas" meaning stones, plus "greog", grey. During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt the place name as a means of identification. The surname dates back to the early 14th Century, (see below), and early recordings include William de Graystanes (1332) in the Book of Fees of Durham Priory. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Graystone, Greystone, and Graiston. Yorkshire Church Records list the christening of John, son of Thomas Grayston, on the 29th May 1639, in Bolton Abbey and Joseph, son of Thomas Graiston, on the 13th October 1679, at St. Peter's, Leeds. Abraham, son of Abraham and Ann Greyston, was christened on the 1st June 1716 in Overlow, Kirby. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Graistaine, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327-1377. 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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