This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name from residence by a stretch of wet land where elms grew, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "elm", elm, with the Old Scandinavian "ey" (Olde English "eg"), "island", land situated between streams, or else a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place in Leicestershire named with the above elements. The prime cause of medieval village disappearances was the enforced clearing of rural settlements, and the consequent dispersal of the former inhabitants, to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade from the 14th Century on. The high incidence of early surname recordings in Church Registers of Leicestershire suggest that the place Almey was once situated in that county. In 1575, the birth of Christopher, son of William Almey, was registered at Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire, and in 1576, William, son of Thomas Almey and Joan Wales, was born at Bitteswell. Variations on the spelling of the name include: Almye (Leire, 1580); Almy (South Kilworth, 1601); and Almay (Broughton Astley, 1770). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Almey, which was dated 1557, witness at the christening of his son, Christopher, at South Kilworth, Leicestershire, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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