This most interesting and unusual surname is probably of English topographical origin from the Old English pre seventh Century words "grene", green and the second element "land", land, hence the name was given to someone who lived near a patch of land left open as communal pasturage, which was a fairly common practice in medieval times. It may also be of English locational origin from places called "Greenland" in Yorkshire, Cornwall and two places in Scotland, in Shetland and near Castletown. The surname itself first appears in the London Church Registers, in the early 17th Century, (see below). One Thomas Greenland married Margery Turvett at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London on June 16th 1609, while one Dorythie Greenland married John Troughton at St. James, Clerkenwell, London on August 2nd 1612. Anne Greenland was christened at St. Margarets, Westminster London in October 1615. One John Grienland was preacher of the Gospel at Anworth, Scotland in 1720. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Annes Greeneland married Lawrence Hickes, which was dated November 15th 1605 at St. Margaret, Lothbury, London, during the reign of King James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland (1603 - 1625. 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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