This is a very rare surname which, rather oddly perhaps for an English name, was most numerous in West Cork. It is in fact Norse-Viking pre 9th Century in origin, and is locational from the village of Skipsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The word means "the harbour (sae) for ships (scip), and in the 15th Century was known as "Shipse", hence the "modern" surname. Families with a Yorkshire background are well founded in Cork; although the recordings are relatively recent, it is known that the name probably dates back to the Cromwellian period of 1649 - 1658. MacLysaght in "More Irish Families" refers to a marriage bond of a Shipsey in 1735, but further details are not known. Irish recordings do, however, include Florence Shipsey, of Skibbereen, on March 1st 1844, two years before the Great Famine that devastated the area. Earlier recordings show a spelling change, the first recorded holder being shown as Shepsey (see below), but at the christening of his daughter Anne on December 4th 1603, at the same St. Giles', the spelling becomes Shipsey. In Yorkshire, its own "home", the name is not apparently recorded until 1788, when Margaret Shipsey married George Bowe at Hauxwell.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Shepsey, which was dated February 14th 1601, marriage to Barbara Barker, at St. Giles' Church, Cripplegate, London, 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 the Poll Tax. 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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