The surname of RUDDY was a variant of the name Roddy, from the gaelic O'Rodaigh. This name was found in County Leitrim, particularly associated with Fenagh. O'Roddy of Donegal, another eranagh family, is thought to be of different origin. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames: they came into being fairly generally in the eleventh century and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The acquisition of surnames in Ireland and England, during the last eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in cultures and traditions. On the whole the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working class or the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. The bulk of surnames in England were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in place names 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. The name is also spelt RUDD. Early records of the name mention Gerard William Rudd of the County of Yorkshire who was documented in the year 1189 and William de la Rudd of Southampton, Hampshire was recorded in 1273. Richard atte Rudd of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. George Rudd was registered at Oxford University in 1554. Thomas Rudd and Elizabeth Green were married in London in 1620. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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