This very unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and derives from the Old Gaelic "imeallach" or "imleach", translating variously as "marginal land", or "marshy shore-land", and it was originally given as a topographical name to someone whose dwelling was located on a periphery or by the coastline. Topographical surnames, such as this, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The surname was first recorded in Scotland at the beginning of the 15th Century (see below). One John Imlach was admitted burgess of the burgh of Aberdeen in 1440, and in 1479 the variant spelling Imlaw was recorded in the above burgh. Further variants, Imloch, Emlach and Imlacke, appear in 17th Century records. A Thomas Imloch was entered in the Register of the Privy Council, Nigg, Ross-shire, in 1607, and Robert Emlach was schoolmaster at Abercherdour in 1636 (The Presbytery Book of Strathbogie). John Imlacke, a tenant of Gordon of Gight, was prosecuted for riot in 1678. Recordings from Scottish Church Registers include the christening of Anna, daughter of William Imlach, on August 22nd 1725, in Rayne, Aberdeen. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Imlach, charged with being a forestaller, which was dated 1402, in the "Council Register of the Burgh of Aberdeen", Scotland, during the reign of King Robert 111 of Scotland, 1390 - 1406. 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.
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