This rare and unusual surname, found particularly well recorded in West Carbery, Co. Cork in Ireland, is of French origin, and is habitational from Levy (-Saint-Nom) in Seine-et-Oise, so called from the Gallo-Roman personal name "Laevius", from the Latin "laevus" meaning "left", and the local suffix "-acum". Members of a noble family originally from this place followed Simon de Montfort on the Albigensian crusade, and were granted an estate at Mirepoix in Arriege. The name was probably first introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and later by French Huguenots, who fled to England, and other countries, including Ireland, to escape religious persecution on the Continent, especially after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis X1V in 1685. The surname Levis is well known in West Cork in Ireland since the 17th Century. Among the recordings in Ireland are the following: the marriage of Samuel Levis and Ann Vickery in 1813 in Cork; the birth of Michael, son of Simon and Mary Levis, on January 8th 1860 at Ballydehob, Co. Cork; and the marriage of Elias Levis and Ellen Allen on August 13th 1861 at Kilmoe, Co. Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Leui, which was dated 1228, in the "Eynsham Cartulary", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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