This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Middle English given name "El(f)si", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "Aelfsige", composed of the elements "aelf" meaning elf, plus "sige", victory. The popularity of the personal name is borne out by the number of surnames it generated. The personal name appears as "Alfsi" and "Alsi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Elfsi" in the Pipe Rolls of Kent in 1191, and as "Elsy" in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1230. The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century, (see below), and variations in the spelling of the surname include Elsie, Elsay, Elsy, and Elcy. London Church Records list the marriage of Walter Elsey to Margery Digby on the 2nd August 1552 at St. Mary Magdalene's, Bermondsey, and the christening of Lawrence Elsie, on the 9th November 1567 at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney. Robert Elsay was christened at St. John's, Hackney, on the 12th July 1590. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Elsi, which was dated 1155-1177, in the Records of the Templars in England in the 12th Century, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as the "Builder of Churches", 1154-1189. 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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