Recorded as Daily, Dailly, Dailey, and Daley, this is an interesting surname. When found in England or Scotland, it may be either French or Irish in origin. If French it was probably introduced into England at the famous Norman Conquest of 1066, and was a locational name from any of several places called Oilly in Calvados. To this place name in England was added the fused preposition "de," to mean "of Oilly", as in the first recording below. The placename is from the Roman personal name "Ollius," the later Oliver, as in the olive tree. Locational surnames were amongst the first to be created, and were originally given to the local lord of the manor, and later as easy identification to those who left their original homesteads to settle elsewhere. An English example of a very early recording is that of Henry Dayly in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1279. If Irish the origin is the Gaelic name O' Dalaigh. This means "The male descendant of Dalach", a personal name translating as meeting or assembly! The O' Dalaigh ancestry goes back to the 4th Century a.d., and specifically to the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages, the High King of Tara, County Meath. The O' Dalaighs were very prominent in medieval records, when their extraordinary genius for literature was manifest in the bardic school set up by Cuconnacht O' Dalaigh in Westmeath. Early examples of recordings include James Dailey,christened at St. Mary Whitchapel, Stepney, in the city of London on June 19th 1701, and Samuel Daley, christened on June 24th 1757, at Clones, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Oilgi. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of England, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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