The surname of KERSEY was a locational name 'of Kersey' a parish in County Suffolk, near Hadleigh. The name was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as CARESEIA, probably from the Old English COERS (watercress) and EG (island or low lying land. Local names find their origins in the villages, towns and areas where people were born, or from the land they owned. In the Middle Ages, a man was identified by his place of birth and almost every city, town and village existing in medieval times has originated one or more family names. Anyone leaving his birthplace would be known to new friends and neighbours by the name of his former residence, his birthplace, or the land he owned. Other records of the name mention Selvestre de Kerseye, 1273, County Suffolk. Robert de Kersey, was documented in the year 1300, in County Yorkshire and Edwin de Kersey of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. Later instances of the name mention John Kersey and Rebecca Taylor who were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1715. Thomas Kersey and Nancy Larkin were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1786.
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