Recorded in the spellings of Tansley, Tanslie and Tansly, this is an English surname. It originates from the village of Tansley in Derbyshire. The translation of the name is from the pre 7th century Old English word "tan" meaning "branch", and "leah", a clearing suitable for agriculture. The place name is used in the transferred sense of a valley branching off from the main dale. The place name is first recorded as "Teneslege" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, the creation of Duke William of Normandy and known as "The Conqueror".The surname being locational, is a "from" name. That is to say that it was given to the first nameholders after they left Tansley and moved elsewhere. In this case the first 'elsewhere' may have been London. Early examples of the recordings taken from surviving church registers include: Elizabeth Tansley, the daughter of Thomas Tansley, who was christened at St. Leonard's church, Eastcheap, city of London on September 1st 1616, and his son James, who was christened at the same church on October 10th 1617. Amongst the later recordings is that of William Tansly, given as being an emigrant from the fateful Irish famine of 1846 - 1848. He sailed from Ireland on the ship "Siddons of Liverpool" bound for New York, on March 31st 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name in church recordings is believed to be that of Agnes Tanslie, who was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, in 1591. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, 1558 -1603.
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