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Home: Surnames: Gazley Family Genealogy Forum

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Origin of Gazley name
Posted by: John Gazley (ID *****1162) Date: January 08, 2007 at 22:36:08
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I think I may have found the origin of the name. I found a website about the town of gazeley in england. It says that the name is first found in the Domesday book. This is a book made by william after conquering england in 1066. It lists a church of gaseleia as being part of the properties of the manor of desning. There is still a desning manor house in gazeley. The name seems to have morphed from this original old english word to the many forms it is in today gazeley gazley gaseley etc.

I looked into the possible roots for this name and found that it means goose meadow. gase is danish for goose and old english for goose is gos and the plural is gas which is pronounced gase. Liea, ley etc, all mean clearing or meadow in old english and danish

this is not all saints church that you see in gazeley online. that is of norman age.This church was there when the normans came.

It seems as if the belief that gazley was a norman name is wrong. It appears before the norman invasion in 1066. In the domesday book it shows the desning manor being owned by Withgar who was the nephew of an anglo saxon king. he was given the isle of wight and many other properties by his uncle an anglo saxpon king (forgot name)

The roots of the gazley family most likely came from this area and took the name of where they lived. Surnames started being used when William took over and required it for taxation purposes, and by 1200's were commonly being used.

My family came from limehouse and westham which is east side of london. I tried to find gazleys in 1500 and 1600's london records. I also looked in records from other areas.
Some of the records are as follows (this isnt all of them)

Lay subsidy returns for london,york,lancashire,middlesex,etc. mainly late 1500's
elizebethan theatre guild 1558-1642,Names appearing in court records 1581-1595 for london, people fined for not wearing caps to church in sheffield,London masters of defense, names of pub owners from 1500's for multiple counties, etc. etc,

The only gazleys I found were 2 in middlesex lay subsidy returns. these were Edward Gassley and Gaseley (probably same person) This is it. These could be the first few gazleys to come to the london area from Suffolk where gazeley is. This would help support the origin in gazeley and then migration in 1600's or later to London. 1700's records show many gazleys of different spellings in westham and other burgs of london. Large populatiosn movements into london occured in late 1600's early 1700's aftet the second bubonic plague.

Although the name seems to start there it is hard to determine if our ancestors in the gazley area before the norman conquest were angles, saxons, or original brits. Those who took the name could be either. They could also be danish settlers to the danelaw area. But the name has been there at least before 1066.

Many DNA based studies are starting to support the fact that most english people can trace lineage to original britons and that Anglo Saxon and even Normans replacing the indigenous population is probably overstated. It is most likely a replacement of the elite class when power changed hands.

I am continuuing to research the domesday information and other records. I am also trying to work my way back from James Thomas Gazley Plaistow Westham 1798 to connect the two.

In your search forget the spellings of the name all are the same. It was not that long ago that most commoners were illiterate and many times even the records people were. I have found records already of relatives with their names mispelled in records. There are gazleys, gazeleys, and gaseleys in the same burgs of london in the 1800's.

I will update the forum if I find anything else interesting

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