This surname WILLIG is of uncertain origin, possibly a variant of Wilding. The name has not been found in records before the late 16th century, and was probably brought into England from Holland. John Wildigge was married at Wybunbury, Cheshire in 1581, and the name is still concentrated in that area. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. 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. Several modern bearers of this surname are descended from Thomas Willidge who was married in 1837 at Walsall; he signed himself thus in the marriage register, but his children were all baptised as Willdig. The surname is now found in Argentinia as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.
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