Recorded in several forms including Yo, Yeo, Atyeo and Attyeo, this is an English surname. It is a topographical name for someone who lived near a stream, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th century word "ea" meaning stream or small river. In the following centuries this spelling became became "ya or yo" in the Middle English dialects of the West Country, and later "yeo". It gave rise to several river and minor placenames in this region, and not surprisingly the surname is well recorded in the counties known as Devonshire and Somerset. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the earliest surviving medieval charters and rolls include Geoffrey de la Ya in the charters known as "Liber Feodorum" for Devonshire in 1242, William atte Yoo, in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327, and Roger att Yo in the Pipe Rolls of Devon in 1333. Later examples taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Julia Yoe who married Edward Smith, at St. Margaret's, Westminster on April 30th 1584, Daniell Yoo, who married Margery Browne at the same church on May 23rd 1593, and William, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Yeo, who was christened at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney on April 11th 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de la Ya. This was dated 1216, in the Subsidy Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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