Recorded in a number of spellings including Halse, Halsey, Hallsey, Halsie, Halso, Hause, Holsey, and others, this famous surname is English. It is locational either from a now 'lost' medieval village or from the villages of Halse in the counties of Northamptonshire and Somerset. The origin is pre 7th century, from the word "hals" meaning a neck of land, and "-eg", an island. This was often an island formed by a river or flood plane, rather than at sea. As Halse and Halsey it is relatively popular in the counties of Devon and Somerset. Over the centuries six coats of arms have been granted to name holders, the earliest being for the Halseys of Devon. This has the blazon of a gold field charged with a fess between three griffins' heads, all black. Amongst the earliest settlers into the new American colonies were Joseph Halsey, aged twenty four. He left London on the ship "Elizabeth and Ann" on May 6th 1635, whilst Richard Halsey, aged only thirteen embarked on the "Hopewell", on July 28th 1635, both ships being bound for "Virginea". Admiral William (Bull) Halsey U.S.N. was the victor of the battle of Midway, in the Pacific, in 1944. Other early recordings in England include Widdow Halsey, who married one Whorwood Shadwell at St. Paul's Benet's Wharf, city of London, on October 5th 1620, whilst Jane Holsey, the daughter of William Holsey, was christened at St Andrews Enfield, in the county of Middlesex, on August 24th 1651. 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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