EDMONDSON families take their name from Edmonstone near Edinburgh. They also settled in Berwickshire and Lanarkshire on lands to which they gave their name. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. Henry de Edmundistun witnessed a charter in 1200 and is probably the first on record. Henricus de Edmundston witnessed a claim of land in Swinis Keeth in 1248. John de Edmundstone appears on record in 1368. James Edmestoune of Ballewyn was recorded in Glasgow in the year 1550. The name was carried to the Shetland Isles circa, 1560, and there were a family of Edmondston of Unst, of which the late, Mrs J.M.E. Saxby ( 1842-1940 ) the novelist was a distinguished member. John Edmestoun was made the burgess freeman of Glasgow in the year 1612, and Ursilla Edmesson is recorded in Windhouse, Shetland in 1648. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Granted 18th March 1765. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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