This surname was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller at the alder-trees' from residence nearby. Local names usually indicated where a man held his land. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village or place where he lived. This name would identify his whole family, and followed them wherever they moved. This name was originally derived from the old English word ELLEN, meaning 'the bright one' and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest of the name recorded appears to be Elena Ostaria, documented in the year 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Other records of the name mention Helenam (without surname) who appears in Yorkshire in the year 1204, and Robert Helene was documented in 1275 in County Worcestershire. Nicholas in the Ellene was recorded in 1327, and Robert atte Hellen appears in the same year. Willelmus Elyne of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. Later instances of the name mention John Payne and Hannah Ellin who were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1669, and Thomas Ellen and Ann Cadby were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1791.
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