This is an ancient Scottish locational surname. It is either from the town of Kelso in Roxburghshire, or an estate known as Kelsoland. It is also one of the earliest recorded surnames not just of Scotland but the whole British Isles, the name holders holding various positions of prominence in medieval times. There were several branches but the main one was known as the Kelso's of Kelsoland in Largs, although this particular family later became extinct in the 17th century. The first known recording of the surname is believed to be that of Arnold de Kelso. He, in the year 1200, entered into an agreement with the monks of the abbey of Kelso to allow them the use of some of his lands, whilst at much the same time Richard of Kelso, the relationship is not known, was the clerk to the Lord Chancellor of Scotland. Although the Richard held arguably one of the most important positions in the country and was responsible for the accuracy of the records, he seems to have some doubt about the spelling of his own name, which is also recorded as Kelchow. An early nameholder with an alternative spelling was Hugh de Kelshowe of Ayrshire, a knight, and possibly a member of Parliament, who rendered homage to the government of John Baliol, in 1296. Another branch of the family, the Kelso's of Sannox in Arran, apparently Gaelicized the spelling to Caolisten, although this spelling no longer seems to exist. Apparently in 1671 the estate of Kelsoland was sold to a John Brisbane, who sadly changed the name to Brisbane.
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