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History and origin of the surname Gyoury

Usually, It is extremely rare to be able to trace the start of any name back to its very beginning. However, documents have survived that show evidence to where this modern surname began and therefore explain why it is so unusual worldwide. The exact spelling of the surname Gyoury remains very rare, with only a few families existing in our generation.

     History begins with Michael Gyory, or to be exact Győrỳ, who was born 1777. Currently, it is unknown where Michael himself was born, or who his parents were since official records did not exist in England at that time. If he was born abroad then there is minimal chance of any records existing; so we can only start with the known knowledge that previous to marriage he lived with, and worked as a servant for, Major Joseph Marks of 21 Thayer Street, St Marylebone, Middlesex (London, England).
gyory marriage
On the 28th December 1807 Michael Gyory married Sarah Cordwell, and signed his name as Michael Győrỳ. It is believed Sarah was a local London born girl, with parents (John & Sarah) who were English and already living in London at her time of birth, 1782.

(Read Michael & Sarah's Settlement Certificate of 1818)                                                                                             Győrỳ Marriage doc.

It is believed that during their 30+ years of marriage they had 10 children together, which isn't that uncommon for the period. These children were all brought up with a new surname- Gyoury. Official civil registration did not begin until 1st July 1837 which was after the births of all ten children, but various other records have survived that show their names. Indeed they all used this version instead of the more complexed Győrỳ with various documents and signatures showing evidence of this, along with records of their own 'next-gen' children's births officially registered as Gyoury to confirm.

      Sarah passed away in 1838 and her name at death was recorded as Sarah Gyoury, while Michael passed away 2 years later in 1840 and his official name at death was registered as Michael Gyoury. The ten children, Michael Henry,Gyoury registered Joseph, Frederick, John Francis, Ralph Peter, Charles, William, James, Alfred and Elizabeth Sarah, are the branches that continue the name tree through the 19th Century, spreading wider throughout the 20th Century and linking to all known Gyoury families existing today.

1840 Michael Gyoury Death Cert.                                                                    Click here to view more surviving document images

Győrỳ > Győrỳ > Gyoury

      So, where did Győrỳ originate from? The name Győrỳ or Gyory is still relatively rare in England, and was just as rare in the Eighteenth century, but origins of this name are already known. Győrỳ obviously shows 'accents' or marks above letters that are not usual to modern English language. In fact they are usual in Latin, or at least are known to be used. These marks are ways to change the sound of a letter, ie. Gyory in Latin English would perhaps rhyme with 'lorry' or 'sorry', whereas  Győry would rhyme better with 'fury' or 'ooory'. The ő letter is pronounced more like the 'ur' in urge.
Latin is too complex for this document but it has many accents and marks, used with intention to provide pronunciation of the written text. This is also true of many modern 'Latin based' languages in Europe today, such as Spanish, Italian, French, Hungarian or Portuguese. Obviously something lost with modern English.

      Lets take a further look at the name Gyory. Győr or Gyor is a known inportant City/Region in Hungary that has existed for many hundreds of years. Hungarian language still uses these accents and marks in their modern alphabet and it is also fully accepted that Gyory is of Hungarian origin. Hungarian names historically were not constructed the same as modern English ways, such as a given first name followed by the surname of your father. Instead names were constructed of 2 elements, a given name and a 'byname'. So, for instance a child's name would be John 'son of Peter', but when John had a child, eg. called Mark, it would not be named Mark 'son of Peter', but correctly- Mark 'son of John'. Now, the common alternative for a 'byname' would be the place they came from / where born. This was especially common and true for travellers like traders, messengers & migraters. So, if traveller 'John' came from Gyor, he would be called John from Gyor. This is the known and accepted historic origin of Gyory, because adding an 'i' to Gyor in Hungarian- Gyori means "from Gyor". Due to Hungarian Latin accents this could be officially written as Győrij or alternatively Győrỳ or with some other form of mark for correct pronunciation. This is the origin of other similar surnames that exist today, especially in Hungary. Interestingly, a Hungarian native in the 18th century would of spoken of traveller Johns name as- 'Győrỳ John', yet official writing of his name in the correct educated Latin method would be John Győrỳ.

      As already mentioned, modern Hungarian language still contains accents and this could help us decipher the correct way Michael could have perhaps pronounced his name. Győrỳ would most certainly not rhyme with 'lorry' and would sound more like "Jury" (or more correctly Dyuree) since the 'Gy' is pronounced similar to J or like the DG in 'eDGe'.
The ỳ with accent would just be extended slightly to sound like eee rather than like 'e' in egg, and therefore would perhaps be the correct way to write down the pronunciation in Hungarian or official Latin of that era. A good example name between language and script is Gyorgy which was the Hungarian equivalent of George. The comparison  points out that without the accent (which it doesn't have) above the y it would sound like George and not Georgy.

      So does this all mean Michael must have been Hungarian educated to be writing/signing his name in official Latin style? Actually no, we cannot know this since Latin was in fact also the Scholarship language in England too. At the time of Michaels life there were many other Gyory's living in the United Kingdom, and the name had been possibly used here for hundreds of years, so it is not evident whether Michael was born in England or not, but belief is he was born abroad. Michael did give us an insight into his pronunciation, and more importantly the reason why the English version should perhaps be written as "Gyoury" since this was nearer the correct way for English to read and say his name. Without losing the Gy or name tradition by mis-spelling completely, Gyoury conformed to the 'new' 18th Century modern English. The loss of accents on other surnames has happened over time within the English language, as have the loss of learning, writing & recording in Latin. Many words have reformed, styles have changed, and it is fact that the whole English language is a complete mix of various foreign influences.

      The 18th century saw many publishing's and works on grammar that helped create uniformity to the very mixed language, and time has created the modern English that we all accept. A new law meant that documents had to be recorded in 'English' rather than Latin, while several full English Dictionaries were published in the period. So it is widely accepted that Modern English Grammar, with its loss of accent marks, began from this time approximately around Michaels birth. Pre-1800 is known as 'Early-modern' English, while 1800 onwards is classed as 'modern English'. The Printing-press, the industrial revolution, the worldwide expansion of the empire, and immigrants, had big influence on the creation of our language. The sound or spelling of a word or surname can change over time, as does local speech and pronunciation. Just take English speakers in America, Birmingham, Newcastle, London, Suffolk, Scotland & Australia as proof of how differently sounds can quickly change. Being from London myself, with parents and family of strong London accents, my surname has always been known to sound more like 'Geary' rhyming with 'cheery', nothing like the original Győrỳ. And, I have no doubt that other English speakers pronounce this same surname differently.

In summary, with the amount of foreign influence in London at the time, the continuing changes to the language, and the fight for a uniformity to English Grammar, I am sure this is the reason for the birth of a new name. The accents were dropped, just like accents were dropped from words in general, but Michael and Sarah wanted their family name to be written correctly to closely match its pronunciation, but obviously without losing its roots and completely changing its form.  GYOURY - dyu-ree

More on the general history surrounding the name-birth can be found on our history page  HERE 

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