Recorded in several spellings including Rollandson, Rollinson, Rolinson, Rolingson, Rollingson, Rollason, Rollerson, Rollison, and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It is a patronymic from either of two male personal names. The first was Rollo, meaning "renowned wolf", a name that was especially popular among early Nordic peoples. It seems to have reached the British Isles both through the 6th century Vikings and later through the Norman French conquerors in 1066. The second possible origin is from the ancient name Roland, meaning "renowned territory". This name was particularly popular as a result of the fame of Roland, Emperor Charlemagne's commander in chief, and it is claimed that the English Rollinsons acquired their surname from this source. Early examples of the surname recordings include William Rollandson in the Wills Register of Lancashire in 1590, John Rollingson of Cartmel in Cumberland in the Wills Registry of Richmond in Yorkshire, in 1596, John Rolinson was an early emigrant to the English colony of Virginia in 1634, whilst Charles Rollinson was christened on October 31st 1680, at St. Ann's, Blackfriars, in the city of London. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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