Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this is an English surname of ultimately in a sense Egyptian origin. First introduced into Europe during the famous Crusades to free the Holy Land in the 12th century, it derives from the biblical name Moses, which perhaps surprisingly is properly the Egyptian name Moshe. It was as Moshe that the Israelite leader in the Book of Exodus, led the tribe out of Egypt, and across the Red Sea to Palestine. Very early in history the name acquired a folk etymology, being taken as a derivative of the Hebrew root "msh", meaning to draw (something) from the water, and a reference to the infant Moshe being discovered among the bull rushes by Pharaoh's daughter.In the modern idiom the surname is spelt as Moyes, Moyses, Moyes, Moise, Moys, Moss and the diminutives Moisey and Moysey. Early examples of recordings include Gaufridus filius Moyses in the Curia Regis rolls of Norfolk in the year 1210, whilst Moys de Bilham was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1230, and William Moyse in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Essex in 1274. One Susanna Moysey was recorded in the registers of St. Michael's in the Barbados. She was buried there on September 1st 1678. A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of an ermine shield charged with a red cross calvary between three gold grices. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyas Moyses. This was dated 1198, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1187 - 1100. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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