this very rare and unusual name is believed to be an Anglicization of an ancient Gaelic (Irish) spelling form which was possibly "O'Spealghusa". If this is correct, the meaning is a metonymic for the descendant "O", of a maker or user of scythes (speal), and one who did so with some energy (gus). This is rather far fetched, but possible. It is also possible that the name is a variant form of a Huguenot refugee name, as the recordings are very rare, and the earliest (see below) was in Limerick, an area where refugees settled and established the early linen industry.What is certain is that although the name is recorded in several spellings, including Spilsy and Spiley, it is one of the rarest of all Irish surnames. Early recordings include: Mary Sepllicy, who married George Frankmore at St. John's Church, Limerick, on January 7th 1798, whilst on August 12th 1866, James and Catherine Spellissy were witnesses at the christening of their daughter, Mary, at Ennis, County Clare. An interesting recording is that of Honor Spilsy, a famine victim, who emigrated to America on the ship "Birkinhead of Liverpool" in June 1847; she was aged 18 yrs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Spelacy, which was dated September 28th 1740, marriage to Isaac Pollard, at Limerick Cathedral, during the reign of King George 11 of England, known as "The Last Soldier King", 1727 - 1760. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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