This well-known Northern name is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Ellerbeck in the parish of Osmotherley, in North Yorkshire. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Elrebeck, Alrebec", and as "Elrebek" in the 1243 Feet of Fines of the county, and is so called from the Old Norse "elri", alders, alder grove, with the Northern Middle English "beck", brook, a development of the Old Norse "bekkr", Old Danish "baek". Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired by local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.The surname is well represented in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379 as "Ellerbek", while some forty years previously one John de Ellerbec was listed in the Lancashire Lay Subsidy Rolls. Recordings from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Christopher Ellerbeck and Dorothie Parker, on August 1st 1581, at Melsonby, and the christening of Sussan, daughter of William Ellerbeck, at Patrington, on October 12th 1606. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Ellerbek, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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