The surname of ILLYS has the associated coat of arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The name is also spelt as Illey and Ilney. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. The name was of the locational group of surnames meaning one who came from Illey in Worcestershire. The earliest of the name on record appears to be HIKKEKY (without surname) who was documented in Worcestershire in 1271. Edwin Iley of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was originally derived from the Old English word ILLELEYA, and literally meant the dweller on Hilla's lea, perhaps a tenant on land belonging to the early bearer of the name.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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