This very unusual and interesting name is of Olde English origins, and one of the very first of all surnames to be recorded anywhere in the world. The first example shown below may not have been hereditary, although this is not proven. Eitherway it is an excellent example of the irrepressible early medieval habit of creating a 'sire-name' from a baptismal name or a nickname. The precise medieval meaning of 'toi' is obscure. It may have been a form of endearment, certainly it was found as a baptismal name as in the recording of Godfridus fillius Toye of Lincoln in the year 200. The nickname when applied was apparently given to someone who was particularly light-hearted or frivolous in his behaviour, although a further and more logical suggestion is that it may have applied to people who were good at sport and games. Early examples of the surname recordings include Aldwin Toie of Devon, in the 1184 Pipe Rolls, Alan Toye in the 1274 Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, and Warin Toy of Cambridge in the 1275 Hundred Rolls. Later recordings taken from church registers include the marriage of Edward Toye to Elizabeth Chittis at St Botolphs Church, Bishopsgate, London, on May 2nd 1654, whilst Hannah Toye, the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Toye, was christened on January 26th 1694 at Sedgley village in Staffordshire. The parish register of St Michaels, Barbados, for 'Ano 1680' records the rare name of (Kathryn) Toyer. 'Toyer' maybe the Sussex/Kent form of 'Toy(e)', although we believe that 'Toyer' is the occupational form of 'Toy(e)', and describes a maker of playthings. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aluric Toi, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book of Hampshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as 'The Conqueror', 1066-1087. 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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