This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either from a locational or a topographical source. If from a locational source, it derives from Stainland in West Yorkshire, first recorded as a placename in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Stanland". The form "Staniland" is a common dialectal transposition of the "n" and "i" elements and parish records often show the two versions side by side. The name means "stonyland", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stan", stony and "land", land and as such can also be a topographical surname, from residence at or by such a natural feature.Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In the modern idiom the name can be found as Staniland, Stainland, Staneland and Stanyland. The marriage of Ann Staniland and Raphe Holland is recorded in London, in 1643. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Stanylande, which was dated November 30th 1561, marriage to Isabell Deye, at Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 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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