Although recorded erratically in many parts of England, this unusual surname seems to originate in East Anglia, and specifically the Bury St. Edmunds region of Suffolk. The surname was originally an Olde English pre 7th Century baptismal name, but may also have been residential, and derive from some now "lost" medieval village called Aedelgod or Aelfgod, after a former owner. However, this is conjecture, as no such village has been definitely identified. The name translates as "good noble" or "good elf", and its survival through the Norman period after 1066, was probably because the "fen country" was for many years very remote and often untouched by events. The name recordings include the following examples: John Elsagood, a witness at Walsham Le Willows, Suffolk, on September 21st 1606, whilst on June 1st 1657, in the reign of Oliver Cromwell, George Elsegood married Mary Smith at St. Mary's, Bury St. Edmunds, also in Suffolk. The name is recorded at St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire, on July 29th 1804, when Isaac Elsegood was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Danielis Ellsogood (or Elsgood), which was dated February 4th 1549, a witness at St. James' Church, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1548 - 1554. 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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