This rare surname spelling is one of a group of variants such as Jul(l)ie, Jewley, Juely and Julee, which are first recorded in England in the early 17th Century. They derive from the Old French "Jolif", through the Middle English "Jolly", a nickname for a person of happy and cheerful disposition. The name may also be associated with the Old Norse-Viking "Jol", a variant of "Yule", the midwinter festival which celebrated the end of the shortening of the days. In this case the name would have been given to one born at "Jol" or "Yule". What is certain is that the name is a "happy" name, and has nothing whatsoever to do with July, the month named after Julius Caesar. Examples of the name recording include: John July, of Yorkshire, in 1415; Thomas July, who married Anne Thompson at St. James' Church, Duke's Place, London, on April 5th 1681; and Astin July (male), who was christened at St. Andrew's, Holbon, also in London, on March 29th 1812. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Le Goly, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Warwickshire.

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Comment by Gerry Regan on July 3, 2015 at 11:10am

Interesting info, Dee. What led you to it? Any similar surnames in your ancestry?

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