England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Helslay family lived in a place in Cheshire called Helsby, which was recorded in the Domesday Book as Helesbe. The place-name Helesbe is derived from the Old Norman word hjallr, which means ledge and refers to a ledge on a mountainside, and byr, which means farm or settlement. Thus, the place-name refers to a farm that is located on a ledge on a mountainside. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. As a result, the place-name Helsby is of Norman French rather than Old English origin.
Early Origins of the Helslay family
Cheshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Helmsby. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, a census initiated by Duke William of Normandy after his conquest of England in 1066 at Hastings, the village of Helsby was held by Earl Hugh, Earl of Chester. Conjecturally, it is from an unknown Norman noble who was tenant of this village from the Earl who was the ancestor of this family. The village lay between Helsby Marshes and Helsby Hill.
Early History of the Helslay family
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Helslay Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Helsby, Hellsby, Helsbie, Helsbee, Hellsbee and many more.
Early Notables of the Helslay family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Helslay family to the New World and Oceana
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Helslay or a variant listed above: Richard Hellsby who landed in North America in 1710.
The Helslay Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: En Dieu est mon esperance
Motto Translation: In God is my hope.
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