This English surname of OLCOTT was a locational name meaning 'the dweller in or near the old cottage'. It was also a baptismal name 'the son of Alen' from the pet form Allicock or Allcock. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Alcok de Stonys, 1273 County Derbyshire. Johannes Alcokson, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Booth and Siceleye Allicocke were married at Prestbury Church, County Chester in the year 1578. Richard Hatton and Ellenor Alcocke were married in London, 1627. The name is also spelt ALLOCK, ALLCOCKS, ALECOCK and OLLCOCK. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1327-1377) that it became common practice for all people. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. Henry Steel OLCOTT (1832-1907) was the theosophist, born in Orange, New Jersey. A lawyer by training, he studied theosophy, and was founder president of the Theosophical Society in 1875. He travelled to India and Ceylon. He opened schools for untouchables in India.
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