This very unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and is locational; the lands of Othirlony in the town of Forfar being the place of origin of this Old Scottish name. The name, perhaps not surprisingly, has a number of alternate spellings which include: Auchterlonie, Auchterlony, Ochterlonie, Ouchterlony and Ochterlony. The name translation is believed to be "the field of the elk", derived from the Gaelic "achadh na lon", or it could possibly translate as "the field of the blackbirds". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), and other name recordings include: Walter de Oghterloveny, who rendered homage to King Edward 1 of England in 1296, and who was later known as Aughterlonie of that Ilk; and William Auchterlouny, who was Sheriff of Forfar in 1514, and who was also known as the Auchterlouny of Kelly. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Othirlony, which was dated 1226, recorded in the "Land Charters of Forfar", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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.