This great and ancient name derives from the Greek "Alexandros", a compound of "alexin", to defend, plus "andros", the genitive form of "aner", a man; hence, "defender of men". Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, was given this name as a title of honour for saving his father's herdsmen from a gang of cattle rustlers, and it became hereditary among the Macedonian Kings. Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.), who extended his dominions from Greece to the Punjab, was the most famous bearer of the name. The name was introduced into Scotland by Queen Margaret (wife of King Malcolm Ceannmor), from the Hungarian Court, where she was brought up, and in the 11th Century she christened her third son by this name. He became King Alexander 1, ruler of Scotland from 1107 - 1124. Two further kings, who reigned from 1215 to 1286, bore the name. Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (1567 - 1640) was tutor to Prince Henry, son of James V1, and Secretary of State for Scotland from 1626 until his death. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Alexander, which was dated 1435, in the "Records of the Accounts of the City of Edinburgh", during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. 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.

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