This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is topographical for a dweller in or by the wood or forest in which wild boar lived. The derivation is from the Old Norse "griss", and the Middle English development, "grise" or "grice", meaning boar or pig, with "wudu", a wood, Greswold is another surname with the same meaning, "wold" being another Old English pre 7th Century word for a wood or forest, and it is likely that this is the earliest form of the name. Topographical names are some of the earliest names to be created as topographical features both natural and manmade provided obvious and convenient means of identification. Among the sample recordings in Yorkshire, is the marriage of George Gristwood and Jane Kerton in 1796 at Kirkby Fleetham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Geyswolde, which was dated 1533, Register of the University of Oxford, during the reign of King Henry V111, "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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