Last name: Elizabeth
Since Medieval times and certainly since the first Queen Elizabeth (1558 - 1603), this has been the most popular girls name in English history. It is therefore perhaps surprising that the surname equivalent is very rare. None of the published dictionaries of surnames record it at all, whilst widely recording for instance the name Marie, Maria, or Mary, in some hundred surname forms. The diminutive as Marriott is probably the most popular English spelling. We believe that the reasons are two fold. Firstly surnames from female or mothers names (metronymics), are in general much rarer than surnames from male names (patronymics). Secondly Elizabeth or Elisabeth is an English spelling of the French and Spanish Isabell or Isabell, now found in the medieval surname of Bell or Belle. Isabell as a personal name was already well established when surnames were created from the 12th century, whilst Elizabeth itself does not seem to have been recorded before the late14th century. However given the popularity of Queen Elizabeth 1st, it is not perhaps surprising to find that a surname may have been created in her honour, certainly the first recording that we have is right in the middle of her reign. This is that of the romantically named Elizabeth Elizabeth. We have no record of her parents or where she was born, but she married Robert Fellows at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London, on July 1st 1570. Thereafter the name appears regularly if in rare numbers, in the surviving registers of Greater London..
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