This interesting surname of English origin is a patronymic of the pet name Sille, itself coming either from the male given name Silvein, from the Latin Silvanue, deriving from "silva" meaning "wood", the name of the god of the forests and also of a saint, or, the male personal name Silvester, from the Latin Silvester "dweller in the forest". The surname dates back to the late 14th Century, (see below). London church recordings include one Henry Sillis who married Anne Hacklett on July 18th 1585 at St. Giles, Cripplegate. Margaret Sillis married Thomas Humphries on December 1st 1637 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and Thomazin Silleis married John Moore on February 2nd 1647 at St. Margaret's, Westminster. Anna Sillis married Thomas Foster on May 27th 1681 at St. James, Dukes Place. One Richard Silles, (aged 20 yrs.), a famine emigrant, sailed from Limerick aboard the "Shamrock" bound for New York on June 16th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Sille, which was dated 1397, The Rolls of Burgesses at the Guilds merchant of the Borough of Preston, during the reign of King Richard 11, "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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