This interesting name, with variant spellings, Woolsey and Woosey can be either patronymic or a nickname of Anglo-Saxon origin. As a patronymic name it derives from the Middle English given name 'Wulsi', a development of the Old English, pre 7th Century 'Wulfsige', a compound of the elements 'wulf' wolf, plus 'sige', victory, hence, 'wolf-victory'. The surname from this source was first recorded in 1219, when one William Wulsy appears as witness in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire. The personal name was popular in Suffolk where it gave rise to the surname of Cardinal Wolxey (circa 1475-1530). The second origin, derives from a nickname 'Wulfesege', meaning 'wolf's eye'. The surname from this source was first recorded in the later half of the 12th Century (see below). One Edmund Wolsey married Alice Smith on January 9th 1569 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. On October 22nd 1615, Elisabeth Wolsey was christened in St. Mary's Abchurch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Wulfesege, which was dated 1168, Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. 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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