This uncommon name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the diminutive forms of the surname that was developed from the male given name Adam. The ultimate derivation of this Hebrew personal name is uncertain, but it is often said to be from the Hebrew "adama", earth, or "red", referring to skin-colour. It occurs infrequently in England before the Conquest, and then always as the name of a monk, while in the Domesday Book of 1086 it occurs as Adam or the genitive form, Ade, as the name of one tenant-in-chief and some subtenants; the popularity of the name increased rapidly in the 12th Century, and by the 13th Century it was one of the two or three commonest names in use in England, particularly in the North and in Scotland. The extent of its popularity is well borne out by the number of surnames that it generated; these range from the patronymic forms Ad(d)ams, Adhams and Adamson to the diminutives Adnett, Ade, Ad(de)kin, Atkin, Adcock, Ad(d)ie and Adey. Matilda Addy is listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379, and one William Adee appears in the Suffolk Subsidy Rolls of 1524. Examples of the name from London Church Registers include: the christening of Jane, daughter of Johnn Adey, on September 29th 1584, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and the marriage of John Adey and Marye Coale at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, on January 23rd 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Ady, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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