This interesting and unusual surname with variant spelling Massey, Massie, Massy, Macey, etc., is of locational origin from a number of places in Normandy, France, and came over with William the Conqueror in 1066. The placenames Massy (Seine-Inferieure), Macey (La Manche), Mace-sur-Orne (Orne) and La Ferte Mace (Orne) derive from the Gallo-Roman personal name "Maccius", of uncertain origin. Recordings of the surname from the English church registers include John, son of Joseph and Sarah Massow, was christened on May 13th 1787, at Woodkirk, Yorkshire; their daughter Rachel was christened on January 10th 1790, in the same place; and the marriage of John Massow to Ann Swainson took place on October 11th 1795 at St.Mary's, Lancashire. A coat of arms granted to the Massow family of Pomerania is recorded heraldically in Rietstaps "Armorial General" and depicts two red bars (vertical stripes) on a silver shield. In heraldry silver signifies Peace and sincerity and red denotes military fortitude and magnanimity, it is also "the martyr's colour". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hamno de Masci, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book of Cheshire, during the reign of King William 1, "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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