This interesting and unusual name is of medieval Welsh origin and is the patronymic (son of) form of Bellis, itself the patronymic form of Ellis, from the Welsh Ap-Ellis which became Bellis. The medieval given name, Ellis, derives from the Hebrew 'Eliyahu' meaning 'Jehovah is God'. One Elyas de Westone is recorded in the London Pipe Rolls circa 1160. The patronymic form of the name first appears in the early 16th Century (see first recorded spelling). In the 17th Century an Edward ap Ellis, of Royton (1631) and John ap Ellis of Allington appear in 'The Wills Records at Chester'. The form Bellis emerges towards the middle of the 18th Century - John Bellis (1747) 'List of Freemen in Chester'. Among the records in St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, London, are the christenings of Thomas Bellison on March 1st 1729 and of John Bellison on January 21st 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John ap Elys, which was dated 1513, 'The Extent of Chirkland' by G.P. Jones, during the reign of King Henry V111, 'Good King Hal', 1507-1547. 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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