This most interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from a nickname given in the first instance to someone who had played the part of the "Ivy-maid" in traditional Christmas festivities. These games, in which the Holly-boy and Ivy-maid led rival groups, were maintained in Kent, though held on St. Valentine's Day, till towards the close of the 18th Century. The name derives from the Olde English "ifig", ivy, with "maeg(e)th", maid, frequently contracted to "mey" in Middle English, as evidenced by the recording of one Martin le Yungemey in the Sussex Hundred Rolls of 1273.A number of medieval surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, often given with reference to a part played in a pageant or miracle play, or traditional seasonal celebrations. These "pageant" names include Greenman, King, Pope, Knight, and Queen. The surname Ivimy, also found as Ivamy, Ivemey, Ivimey and Ivermee, is found predominantly in the southern counties of England, notably Dorset and Hampshire. Hustyce Ivemay was christened at Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, on November 7th 1597, and the marriage of William Ivimy and Ann Sparks was recorded in Wymering, Hampshire, on February 27th 1775. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Ivemay, which was dated October 9th 1572, marriage to Christena P. (as recorded), Ringwood, Hampshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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