Recorded as Overy, Overee, and Ovey. this unusual name is of early medieval English origin. It is 'residential' and can be either a topographical or locational surname. If locational it derives from the place called Overy in Oxfordshire, and it means literally, 'the place across the river', from the Olde English pre 7th century words 'ofer-ea'. If topographical it can have a more general meaning of the dweller beyond the stream. Locational surnames by their nature are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to move somewhere else. The easiest way to idenify such strargers being for the locals to call them by the name of their original homestead. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' forms. In this case early examples of the recordings include Richard Overee of Oxfordshire in 1334, and Alexander Overye of Cambridgeshire in 1343. Later examples include Elizabeth Ovey, the daughter of Josias Overy who was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 13th 1637, whilst William Overy and Martha Scott were married at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent in the year 1711. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Overhe. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England. He was known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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