This name is either topographic for someone who lived to the south of a main settlement, or descriptive for someone who had migrated from the south to another part of the country. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "suth" meaning "south". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Isabella South appears in the 1297 "Minister's Acounts of the Earldom of Cornwall". Other forms of the name have included del South and de Sowth (1379, "The Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire").In the modern idiom, the surname has many spelling variations, including Southeran, Southern, Southan, Southorn, Southon etc.. On November 15th 1663, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher and Margrett Southon, was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, and Edward, son of Edward and Mary Southon, was christened on October 19th 1675, at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de la (of the) Sothe, which was dated 1273, "The Hundred Rolls of Devon", during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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