This interesting surname of English origin is a patronymic of the diminutive of the medieval given name Elis, from the Greek personal name Elias, itself coming from the Hebrew Eliyahy meaning "Jehovah is God". The given name was borne by a biblical prophet, but its popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages was as a result of its adoption by various early saints the name may also be a diminutive of Ella, from the give name. Ellen, itself coming from the medieval vernacular form of the given name Helen. The name being the mother of Constantine the Great, credited with finding the True Cross; according to legend she was of British origin, and the name was consequently popular in England during the Middle Ages. The surname dates back to the early 14th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Thomas Elkyns (1447) Balliol, Oxfordshire. Church recordings include one Dorethye, daughter of Thomas Elkins who was christened on April 30th 1563, at St. Michael's, Bedwardine, Worcestershire, and Elizabeth, daughter of John Elkins, was christened on February 13th 1582 at St. Andrew's, Undershaft, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Elkyn - witness, which was dated 1310, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", 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.