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This surname is usually explained as a metronymic i.e. "the son of Alice". However, in Scotland, the name has three further meanings all patronymics. Firstly, "one son of Ellis" (the pronunciation of Ellis in the South being the same as that of Alice). L.A. Morrison in his "History of the Alison or Allison family in Europe and America" states that the name was often spelled Ellison and Allison when referring to the same individual. Secondly, in some cases the name may be "son of Allan". In 1559 a woman Jonet Alysone was also referred to as Janet Alanesone. Thirdly, Al(l)ison is also thought to be "son of Alister". Two sons of Alexander MacAlister of Loupe changed their name from MacAlister to Alison after the War of Independence. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Alisun which was dated C. 1248, in the "Documents of the Abbey of Bec", Buckinghamshire during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman" 1216 - 1272 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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