This interesting surname is a variant of Lilly, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has three possible sources, the first being a diminutive of the female personal name Elizabeth, from the Hebrew "Elisheba", meaning oath of God, or God has sworn; the name was very popular in medieval Europe. The second source is from a nickname for someone with very fair hair or skin from the Middle English (1200 - 1500), Old English pre 7th Century "lile", lily, from the Latin "lilum". The third source is locational from Lilley from Hertfordshire, or in Berkshire; the place in Hertfordshire is derived from the Old English "lin" flax, and "leah", wood, clearing, and the place in Berkshire is derived from the Old English "Lillingleah", wood associated with lilla, a personal name of uncertain etymology. The place in Hertfordshire was first recorded as "Linleia", in the Domesday Book of 1086. The modern surname can be found as Lilly, Lillie, Lely, Lill(e)yman and Lilliman. Among the reocrdings in London are the christening of Edward son of William and Susanna Lillyman, on September 5th 1699 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and the marriage of Thomas Lillyman and Elizabeth Shuter on March 31st 1782 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Lelman, which was dated 1212, in the "Curia Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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