This surname of HEADRICK was perhaps originally a local name from some obscure place in Scotland. The name at one time was also spelt HEDERICK, HEADRIG, HETHERIG, HIDDERIG and HEATHERWICK, literally meaning the dweller at the ridge of land at the end of a field. Several of the name HEDRIG or HEDRICK are recorded in Dunblane, and the Rev. James HEADRICK (1758-1841) was divine, agriculturist and mineralogist there. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. Another record includes a certain Thomas Black HEDERICK, who died in 1941 in Dunblane, Scotland. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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