This long-established surname is of early medieval English and Scottish origin, and was developed from the medieval male given name "Rankin", a diminutive form of the given name "Rand(e)", with the hypocoristic suffix "-kin". Rand itself is a short form of any of the various (originally) Germanic compound personal names with the first element "rand" (shield) rim, such as Randolf, with the second element "wolf", wolf. The diminutive form of the name is first recorded in Scotland, where Rankin de Fowlartoun is mentioned in Charters of the Royal Borough of Ayr in 1429. Early examples of the surname include: Reginald Ranekyn (1296, Sussex); Ralph Rankin (1301, Yorkshire); John Randekyn (1381, Suffolk); and in Scotland, John Rankyne, burgess of Glasgow in 1456. The surname has a long history in Scotland; it was found early in Ayrshire, where persons of the name were "small proprietors" before the end of the 16th Century. One John Rankin was vicar of Girwane in 1504, and another John Rankin was vicar of Girwane in 1504, and another John Rankin was a tenant under the bishop of Aberdeen in 1511. The christening of Jon(athan), son of Paull Rankin, was recorded at the Church of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, on May 12th 1657. The Coat of Arms granted to a Rankin family depicts three red boars' heads couped between three red battleaxes on a silver shield, and in the centre a green quatrefoil. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Reynkyn, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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