This is a surname of pre 8th century baptismal origins. Recorded in a wide a variety of surname spellings, all quite rare, and including Ace, Ayce, Acey, Asee, Asey, etc., the derivation is from the Norman-French given name 'Ace', itself a dialectal transposition of the 5th century Frankish 'Adso and Atso'. The original meaning of this word was "noble", and as such in addition to being a given name on its own, it was also used as the prefix to the popular compound given names of the day. Examples of these compounds include Adshelm, "noble protector", and Atsalberht, "noble-bright". "Azo", on its own, is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, whilst "Asce Halveniht" (Ace, the half knight), is recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hampshire in the year 1213. Other examples include John Ace in the 1246 register of St Bartholomews Hospital, London, and Geoffry Aze in the 1296 subsidy rolls of the county of Sussex. The following entries in early church registers include Alyxsander Asye, who was married in London in 1556 during the reign of Queen Mary 1st, known as "Bloody Mary", William Asee, also married in London at St Giles Cripplegate in 1631, and Alice Asey, who married Thomas Culver at St. Helen's Bishopsgate, London, in 1655. Eliezer Acey married Mrs Anne Fox at Cockerham, Lancashire, on November 30th 1710, and Alice Acey married William Henshaw at Manchester Cathedral, on March 6th 1869. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Benedict Ace, which was dated 1230, "The Close Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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