This interesting name is of Scottish locational origin from the lands thus called in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. The founder of the family, bearing the forename, Jonis, is believed to have followed his overlords from Yorkshire circa 1174 and was granted the lands to which he gave his name. The second element is the medieval English 'tone' or 'toun', from the Old English pre 7th Century 'tun', a settlement, hence, 'Jonistune', later 'Johnston' or 'Johnstone'. His son, Gilbert, was the first to adopt the territorial surname, (see below). Johan de Jonestone, a knight of Dunfrys, rendered homage to John Balliol in 1296. In some cases the name is locational from the city of Perth, formerly recorded as (St.) Johnstoun, or from the lands of Jonystoun, an estate in the parish of Humbie, East Lothian. On June 2nd 1718 Christopher Johnstone married Helen Murray in Langholm, Dumfries. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbertus de Jonistune, charter witness, which was dated circa 1195 - 'The Annandale family book of the Johnstones' by Sir William Fraser, during the reign of King William, 'The Lion of Scotland', 1166 - 1214. 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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