This is an English locational surname, although its place of origin is uncertain. Recorded in the spellings of Poland, Polland, Powland, Powlesland and several other forms, it probably derives from the village of Poland near the town of Odiham, in the county of Hampshire. 'Poland' has nothing whatsoever to do with the country of that spelling, it is Olde English pre 7th century in origin, the derivation being from 'pol landa', meaning an area of agricultural land surrounded by lakes or pools. The later surname spellings are dialectal, the added 'w' and or 's' in the spelling being a combination of local dialects as the name moved away from its place of origin, or simply bad spelling! Most locational surnames were given to people after they left their original village and moved elsewhere. it was a simple form of identification, but as fewer than one in twenty of people before 1800 could even write their own name, it was hardly surprising that many variant forms developed. Early examples taken from church registers include Elenore Pollane of Bramley in Hampshire on November 6th 1581, this being the only (near) recording in the home county before the 18th century, and Emmee Powland who married Henery Elliott at St Dunstans, Stepney, on July 21st 1613. Elizabeth Poland was recorded at St Dunstans on January 9th 1727, and Robert Powlesland, who married Mary Skipworth at St Pancras Old Church, London, on May 3rd 1860. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Powlande, which was dated October 8th 1558, a witness at Christ Church, Greyfriars, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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