This famous Scottish name is one of the patronymic forms of the surname 'Richard', which derives from an Old Germanic personal name composed of the elements 'ric', power, with 'hard', brave, hardy, strong. The given name, although found infrequently in Anglo-Saxon records, was popularized in England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and had become one of the most popular male personal names in England and Scotland by the end of the 13th Century, generating a variety of surnames such as the patronymic forms, Richards, Rickards and Richardson. The latter is first and most frequently recorded in Scotland; one Robert Richardson of Scotland had a safe conduct into England in 1464, and Master Robert Rychartsone, a cleric, was provost of Sanct Marie Isle, and treasurer to Mary, Queen of Scots in 1567. In Canada some early examples of the name include the christening of Richard Richardson in Onslow, Nova Scotia, on November 26th 1761. Robert Richardson and Louisa Hendershot were married in Welland, Ontario, on November 23rd 1859. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Murdac Richardesson, which was dated 1359, Documents Relating to Scotland in the Public Record Office, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329-1371. 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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