There are three distinct origins for this interesting name. Firstly it can be an occupational name for a steward or official, from the Old French 'baillis' or 'bailif', Middle English 'bail(l)'. The word survives in Scotland as 'bailie', the title of a municipal magistrate, but in England has developed into 'bailiff', an officer of the court. The second source is topographical, denoting one who lived by the outermost wall of a castle or fortified town, the Middle English 'bail(l)y' as can be seen in the case of the Old Bailey in London, which was part of the early medieval walls.Thirdly the surname can be locational, from 'Bailey' in Lancashire, which means 'berry wood'. Church recordings include one Agnes Baily who was christened on September 12th 1610 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, Ann, daughter of George and Joan Baily was christened on October 24th 1630 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster and Amye, daughter of John and Elizabeth Baily was christened on August 14th 1636 at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London. One, William Baily, aged 34 yrs., a famine emigrant sailed from Liverpool aboard teh Messenger bound for New York on June 5th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Baylly, which was dated 1230 the Suffolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111 '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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