- This most interesting surname is acknowledged to be Scottish in its modern spelling form, and has been so far at least two centuries, however its origins may lie elsewhere. It appears to derive from the Latin "Motio" which means "Motion", a word also used in the French, and was probably a form of nickname for "a messenger or courier". As such it may be Huguenot, but this is not confirmed. It could also be habitational and derive from "Motte-tun" or similar (Old English pre 7th Century and describe one who lived at a farm (tun) by a fort or meeting place. An example would be Sir Robert Moton who died at Leicester in 1497. As "Motion" the name spelling is 18th Century (see below), earlier recordings may be undiscovered. Examples include James Motion christened at Port Glasgow, Renfrew on June 20th 1799, and his brother Alexander christened on May 24th 1801, whilst Mary Motion was christened at Stevenston, Ayr on November 16th 1801, in London the first recording was on September 19th 1813, when Thomas Motion married Isabella Turn Bull, at St. James Church Garlickhythe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Motion, which was dated May 14th 1785, married Martha Bell at Edinburgh, during the reign of King George 111, "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.