This most interesting surname is one of the patronymic forms of "May", which itself has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be of early medieval English origin, from the Middle English word "may", youth, a nickname given to a young lad or woman. It may also be a pet form or hypocoristic of "Matthew", from the Middle English personal name "Mathew", of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew male given name "Matityahu", meaning "gift of God", which was recorded in the Greek New Testament as "Matth(a)ias". Surnames from this source, apart from Mayze, include May, Le May, Maye, Mayes, Mey and Meye as well as Meys and Lemay. Johannes filius Maie was mentioned in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1274, and May de Hindley was recorded in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire in 1379. Early examples of the surname include William le Mai, appearing in 1177 in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and Thomas le Mey recorded in the Book of Ely in 1221 (Suffolk). Thomas, son of Thomas and Sarah Mayze, was christened on September 23rd 1838 at the Church of St. Mary's, Battersea, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Mai, which was dated 1167, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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