This ancient English surname of GATLING was a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Gertrude'. The name is also spelt GATLING, CATLING and CATLIN. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Geoffrey GATELIN, who was recorded in County Wiltshire, England in the year 1273, and Johanna GATELYN was documented there in 1300. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A later instance of the name mentions John CATLIN who married Susanna Hayes at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. The surname crossed the Atlantic at an early date, and gave us the Gatling-Gun from Richard Jordan GATLING (1818-1903) the American inventor, born in Money's Neck, North Carolina. He studied medicine, but never practised, and is known for his invention of the rapid-fire GATLING gun (1861-1862), a revolving battery gun with ten parallel barrels, firing 1200 shots a minute. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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