This unusual name is of early Medieval English origin, and is a topographical surname given to someone who lived "to the south" of a settlement, or village, or of any given area. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since natural (or manmade) features in the landscape provided instant and easy forms of identification when surnames were needed. There are a variety of similar formations that still exist as surnames today, such as "Bythesea", "Bytheway", meaning "dweller by the road", "Bywater", and "Bywood". One, Thomas Bysouth was married to Elizabeth Wills on September 24th 1605, in London, and the christening of John Bysouth was recorded at Copford in Essex on the 16th June, 1615. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Bisuthe (witness), which was dated 1221, The Worcestershire Assize 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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