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The English surname Lindsey is of local origin, being one of those names derived from the place where a man once lived or where he once held land.  Lindsey is the name of an administrative district in Lincolshire and there is also a parish of this name in Suffolk.  Lindsey, Suffolk is derived from an Old English term which simply denotes "Lelli's island" while Lindsey in Lincolnshire evolved from the name Lindon Island which literally means "island in a lake".  The original bearer of the surname would have been a resident of one of the places so named.


The surname has been recorded in English documents since the thirteenth century.  In 1207, one Thomas de Lindesie was register3ed in the Feet of Fines for Lincolnshire while Thomas de Lyndesey of Derbyshire was listed in the Hundred Rolls of 1273.  The prefix "de" means "of" or "from" and indicates that a name is of local origin.  Variants of the name include Lindsay, Linsey, Linzee and Lincey.  The surname Lindsay is also found in Scotland where it is the family name of the earls of Crawford.


Notable bearers of this surname include Benjamin Barr Lindsey (1869-1894), the judge and reformer who founded the American juvenile court system.