This surname was a locational name 'of Thurston' a spot in County Suffolk. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. The name was originally brought into England from Denmark in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, Turstan (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086 appears to be the first of the name on record in England. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Other instances of the name mention Thurstanus (without surname) who appears in County Suffolk in the year 1095, and Tosten Basset is recorded in London in 1180. John Turstein of Essex was documented in the year 1250, and Thomas Tusting of County Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thyrston Thurston was recorded in 1544 in London.
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