Origin of the Austin Surname
It is generally
agreed that the surname Austin is derived from Augustine
which is a diminutive of the Latin name Augustus (majestic,
dignified). Saint Augustine (354-430 AD), while the Bishop
of Hippo, formulated a set of rules or canons for living
an austere, monastic life. These rules were later
adopted by various groups of religious individuals who
took vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, and formed
orders or societies intending to live this lifestyle.
One of these orders, the Order of St. Augustine, founded
in 1256, became known as the Augustine Canons, later
shortened to Austin Canons then later to the Austin Friars
by the 13th century.
Most authorities agree that the surnames
Austin, Austins, Austen, Austing, and Auston evolved among
the populace from association with these Augustinians.
Two of the earliest Austins found in the early English
records were Augustinius de Bernardeston (1224) and Austinus
de Beston (1230). These are Norman names, and are derived
from place names (the French preposition de denoting "being
of or from"). By the 13th century there were more
than a dozen coats-of-arms recorded for Austin families
in the English counties of Kent, Surrey and Norfolk.