This is a Scottish locational surname. Recorded in several forms including Blackshaw and Blackshire, it originates from the village and bay called Blackshaw in the county of Dumfriesshire in south west Scotland. The original meaning of the place name and hence the later surname was the dark wood from the pre 7th century Olde English "blaec-schaga". The surname has never been popular in the sense of achieving a substantial presence, but it is widely recorded. It is said that the first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Blakeshaw. This was was dated 1583, at the then village of Hunterstoun, in the coyunty of Ayrshire during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1587. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.