Recorded as Howie, Howey, and the patronymics Howieson, Howison, Howisone, amd Huison, this famous Scottish name is probably locational from "The lands of How," a now lost estate in the county of Ayrshire. If so the surname is a member of the ever growing list of surnames of the British Isles that originate from medieval sites which are either no longer occupied, or have perhaps changed their name. Either way the development is from the Ancient British-Strathclyde word hoh, which pre-dates written history.This describes a hollow or deep valley, and from which also developed the surnames How and Howe. As Howie or Howey it is a diminutive meaning Little How, the suffix -ie or -y being a popular Scottish and North of England endearment, whilst Howi(e)son is the patronymic to give son of Howie. Early examples of the surname recordings include John Howison, a burgess of Edinburgh in 1450, John Howy, a servant of the Earl of Cassilis, who in 1526 was accused of murder, although reprieved! Somewhat less dramatically in 1590 Robert Howie was recorded as being the Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, whilst in the year of 1680, Thomas Howieson was the minister of Boleskin in Lanark, and was also known as Robert Huison and Robert Houston. Interestingly there is a long tradition that nameholders originally descended from Flemish weavers nrough to Scotland in the 14th century. This cannot be ruled out, in which case they appear to have adopted or adapted, a local surname to their needs. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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