There is considerable doubt as to the true origin(s) of this most interesting locational surname. It is well recorded as 'Moy' in England, Ireland and France, however the form with the intrusive 'e' would seem to be an English development, but probably deriving from the original French. Both in France and Ireland there are many places called 'Moy', the word apparently deriving from ancient Gaelic and Breton, and describing a water meadow or brook. To add to the confusion the surnames May and Mee have a similar ancestry. The Irish however make the claim that the development is from O'Muighe, (the descendant of Muighe), however as a number of English 'planters' from the 16th century are recorded in Ulster as 'Moy', there is certainly some doubt. Furthermore a famous English pirate of the period was one Lambert Moye, so an English- French origin seems the likely origin for most nameholders. Amongst the early name recordings is that of Richard and Mary Moye, whose daughter Elizabeth was christened at St Mary Le Bone, on October 15th 1690, whilst earlier in France Nicholas Moy of Tournes, Ardenne, was a witness there on December 1st 1664. Other recordings include Anne Marie Moye who married Thomas Stenson at Ringcurran, County Cork, Ireland on November 21st 1846, the Coat of Arms granted in France, has the blazon of a gold field, charged with a saltire between four martlets, all red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Moy, which was dated January 15th 1576, who married Emma Prockter at Westminster, 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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