Recorded in many spelling forms inclucing Gealy, Geely, Gelly,Jelly, and Jolly, this is an English surname. Meaning "Little Jul" it is one of the many diminutives of the personal name Julian, itself descended from the Roman family name of Julius Caesar, meaning "the supreme god". Julian was borne by a number of early saints, the best known of them being St. Julian the Hospitaller, an early patron saint of travellers. Introduced into Europe by returning crusaders in the 12th century, it soon achieved great popularity as both a first name and a later surname. From this source other surnames such as Julyan,Jolland, Jalland, Golland, Jellicoe, Gillian and Jolle, all ultimately derive. As a personal name it is recorded in the Letter Books of the city of London in 1187 with Julian de Horbelighe and the female form Juliana de Habetoren. Later examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving church registers include those of John Geely, christened at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on October 27th 1556, Thomas Jellye who married Allice Ellet on June 6th 1575, at St. Mary the Virgin, Dover, Kent, another John, but this time Gealy, who married Jane Shryve at St Giles Cripplegate in the city of London, on February 3rd 1605, and William Jelly married Martina Harrison on August 20th 1639, at All Hallows church, London Wall. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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