- This picturesque surname is of Scottish origin and is locational from the lands of Elphinstone in the parish or Tranent, Midlothian, first recorded as a placename in a deed by Alams de Swinton circa 1235 when mention is made of the "homines (serfs) of Elfinstun". The derivation is from the Gallo-Latin personal name Alphinus, written in Irish records as Alphin, Alpin and Elphine. Two Pictish kings bore the name Alphin, but the etymology is unknown, and is in no way connected with Alba. One John de Elphinstone is recorded as "rendering homage" in 1296, and had a seal bearing a shield charged with a boar's head, and "S' lohannis de Elphinsun". Port Elphinstone, in Aberdeenshire was named from a branch of the family, and yet another John de Elphinston married into a family owning lands which became the barony of Elphinstone in the parish of Airth, Stirlingshire, circa 1340. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Elphinstone, which was dated circa 1250, in the "Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, (1249 - 1286). 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.