This name, with variant spellings Elliss, Elix, Ellice, Eles, Elias, Heelis and Hel(l)is, derives from the medieval given name "Elis", the vernacular form of the Greek "Elias", from the Hebrew "Eliyahu" meaning "Jehovah is God". The name became popular among Christians in the Middle Ages as a result of its adoption by various early saints and martyrs including a 7th Century Bishop of Syracuse. One Elyas de Westone appears in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, circa 1160. The surname was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: William Elis, who was entered in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1202, and Robert Elys or Helys, who was listed in a Kalendar of Documents (Essex, circa 1250). The name appeared as "Elice" in the 1309 Subsidy Rolls of Bedfordshire. On October 5th 1536, Andrew Ellis and Joane Moone were married in London. An early settler in the New World Colonies was Richard Ellis, aged 29 yrs., who left London on the "Bonaventure", bound for Virginia in January 1634. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is on a gold shield, a black cross with five silver crescents, the Crest being a woman naked, her hair dishevelled gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Elyas, which was dated 1200, in the "Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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