The surname of ELVEY was a baptismal name 'the son of Aylwin' an ancient although now forgotten personal name. It is also spelt as Elwin and Elwes. The name was derived from the Old English word AELFWIG, meaning 'elf-war'. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. 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. Early records of the name mention Elvey (without surname) 1095, County Suffolk. Adam Alfwy was documented in the year 1296 in the County of Surrey. Agnes Aluy was documented in Sussex in the year 1327. Emery Puttick and Margaret Elvey were married at St. James's. Clerkenwell, London in the year 1755. Arms of Elwes. Recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Habelsthorpe, County Nottingham and Worleby, County Lincoln.).
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