This interesting surname, with variant spellings Nelsye, Nolcey, Nelsie, Nelsoy, Nelsy, Nelsee, etc., is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The component elements are believed to be the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "nargl", a byname from "naegl" meaning nail plus "(i)eg" an island; hence "Naegl's island". The surname is first recorded in the late 16th Century (see below). On January 30th 1602, Elizabeth, daughter of William Nelsie, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London. The Marriage of John Nelsey and Anne Waide took place at Harewood, Yorkshire, on November 14th 1637. James Nelsey married Mary Clark on February 14th 1741, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margeret Nelsee, (marriage to Richard Freeman), which was dated February 6th 1596, St. Stephan's, Coleman St., London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.