This is one of the patronymic forms of the male given name Atkin or Adkin, itself a double diminutive of the Hebrew name Adam, itself from "adama", meaning "(red)earth". Adam (without surname) is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and was prevalent thereafter, with diminutives Adcock and Adkin, the "d" being dialectally changed to "t" in certain areas. One Adekin filius Turst appears in the 1191 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and a John Adekyn was recorded in the 1296 Records of Crowland Abbey, Cambridgeshire. A William Atkyns was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, dated 1327, and a John Atkinson was listed in the Assessments relating to Feudal Aids, Westmorland (1402). In 1437, John Atkinson was admitted burgess of Aberdeen. In January 1634 John Atkinson, aged 24 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Bonaventure", bound for Virginia; he was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in America. Sir Henry Atkinson (1831 - 1892), educated at Rochester (Kent) and Blackheath (London), became Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1876. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Atkynsoun, which was dated 1387, in the "Records of North Berwick", Scotland, during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. 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.