This ancient Scottish name is of locational origin, deriving from either of the places called Ormiston in the former counties of East Lothian and Roxburghshire. The placename means "Orme's settlement", from the Old Norse personal name "Ormr", originally a byname meaning "snake", "serpent", or "Dragon", with the Old English pre 7th Century "tun", enclosure, settlement. The local pronunciation of the placename is Wurmston, and the modern surname can be found as Ormiston(e) and Ormston, the latter found mainly in Northumberland.The Alan de Ormyston or Ormiston recorded below was the ancestor of a Scottish family long settled around Roxburgh, at Old Melrose. One Henry de Ormestone of Edinburghshire rendered homage in 1296 and was juror on an inquest in Berwick the same year. One Thomas Ormiston was christened in Melrose, Roxburghshire, on August 20th 1648 and the marriage of William Ormiston and Margaret Scott was recorded in Bowden on June 2nd 1749. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Ormyston, charter witness, which was dated 1200, Register of "St. Marie de Neubotle", during the reign of King William, known as "The Lion of Scotland", 1165 - 1214. 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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