This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, and derives from the French personal name "Moise", which is the French form of "Moses", the Hebrew form of the name "Moshe" which is of Egyptian origin. This was the name of the Israelite leader, Moses, in the Book of Exodus, who led the Israelites out of Egypt. Very early in its history the name acquired a folk etymology, being taken as a derivative of the Hebrew root "msh", to draw (something from the water), a reference to the story of the infant Moses being discovered among the bulrushes by the Pharaoh's daughter.In the modern idiom the surname is found spelt as Moyes, Moyses, Moyse, Moise, Moys and Moss. Gaufridus filius Moyses was recorded in 1210 in the Curia Rolls of Norfolk, while Moys de Bilham was mentioned in 1230 in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire. William Moyes was noted in the Hundred Rolls of Essex in 1274. Whilst Susanna Moyse was recorded in the Parish Registers of St. Michael's in the Barbados, one of the early New World Colonies; she was buried there on September 1st 1678. A Coat of Arms was granted to a family which depicts on a red pale a cross calvary with three gold grieces on an erminois shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyas Moyses, which was dated 1198, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1187 - 1100. 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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