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Ellickson Coat of Arms / Ellickson Family Crest

This English surname was a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Ellis'. The name was originally from the medieval given name Elis meaning 'Jehovah is God' and was originally borne by a biblical prophet, but its popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages, was a result of its adoption by various early saints, as for example a 7th century bishop of Syracuse and a 9th century Spanish Martyr. In Wales this surname seems to have absorbed forms derived from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, meaning one who was kindly and benevolent. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The name is also spelt ELLIS, ELLISON, ELLICK and ELLERKSON. A notable member of the name is Ralph Waldo ELLISON, born in 1914, the American novelist. Bookish as well as musical, he studied music. He has also published two books of Essays 'Shadow and the Act' (1964) and 'Going to the Territory'. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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