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Family History Beginners Board / Ayling Surname
« on: Saturday 12 November 16 22:13 GMT (UK)  »
Here are some rules of thumb that I have discovered after looking at many, many AYLING families across the south of England. First, the name was spelled as "Æglyng" in Old English, and it was pronounced as "eye-ling". However, in my experience most present day Ayling descendants pronounce the first part of the name to rhyme with "hay". See for a discussion of the origins of the name.

The earliest reference to the Ayling name are from the Sussex Subsidy of 1296 where you find a Regin' Aylyng living in the Rape of Bramber, Hundred of Westgrensted, village of Wykham. This is just north of Brighton. Also there was a a Ricro Aelyng in Heyshott, Rape of Chichester in 1296. Willmo Aylyg in Lodsworth and John Alyng in Chidham and listed in 1327 and 1332

At the start of parish record keeping in the 1540's the name has mostly settled out to "Aylyng" or "Aylynge". It was sometimes recorded at the time or transcribed in error in the early 1600's as "Aylwyn" which is a distinct surname but found in many of the same parishes in West Sussex in particular. However, in the 16th and 17th centuries any researcher of the Aylyng name needs to check both. Here is an example that shows four name variations within the same document (all of whom are "Ayling" a confirmed via other sources):

Title: Quit Claim
Reference: SAS-K/134
Description: By JOHN ALIN als AYLWIN of Stoughton, Sussex, yeoman, to GEORGE WAKEFORD of Selborne, co. Southton, gent., of all right or title under the will of the late Giles Ayling, father of said John Alin, of and in the house, garden, and backside called Bartons in Harting, which was sold by said John Alin to his brother Isemonger Alin als Aylwin for £25 and by him the said Isemonger sold with other parcels of land to said George Wakeford, by deed of feoffment dated 6 June, 1670 (No. SAS-K/121)

Signature, John Aylling and seal

Witnesses:- J. Biggs, John Worlidge
Date: 17 Jun 1671
Held by: West Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

The above at least presents the possibility that the way "Ayling" was pronounced might have influenced how it was written. After all, just about all common folk in this era were illiterate. In the recording of surnames for tax records or other government documents the surname would have been communicated orally to the scribe who then wrote down what he heard. The person giving his name would not be looking over the shoulder of the scribe to ensure that his name was spelled correctly.

You do find "Ailing" cropping up from time to time within Ayling family groups, and it is often fairly easy to see that the name is a recording error for Ayling. The more common variations of Ayling are Aylen and Aylin. This was likely because the person giving their name was dropping the hard consonant "g" from the end of the name, perhaps conforming to the dialect of the area where "g" was often dropped from the end of words. In Sussex both have settled out to Ayling within the same family groups by the end of the 18th century. In Hampshire, I believe there was only one Ayling family line that maintained "Aylen" right down to the present and overlaps the same parishes where Ayling is used. However, "Ayling" is a far more dominant name in terms of frequency of use. I worked through all the name variations for Hampshire here: In Essex there was a family of brick makers starting around the end of the 1700's with a surname "Aylen" but descendants kept that name, as well as Aylin and Ayling. It should be noted that Aylen in this southeast area is a distinct surname which seems to be unrelated to Ayling. In Kent you find a mixture of both but Ayling is again more frequent. So you habe to be very careful about making attribution of Aylen to Ayling.

You do also sometimes find variations like "Aling" or "Alin" or even "Alen" all over the south of England (and sometimes further north).

The key, I think, is the "ayl" at the beginning. Those who recorded the name kept that "y" in there which probably tells us that the name was pronounced as "eye". Otherwise, I think, the name might have morphed in Allen over the centuries.

Chris Ayling

Surrey Lookup Requests / Look Up request - AYLING, James
« on: Sunday 06 November 16 23:18 GMT (UK)  »
According to the various census he was born about 1810-12 in Chertsey. Married by Banns in 1831 to Hannah Ansell. Looking for a birth/baptism record that lists parents. Thanks for any help!

Chris Ayling

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