This surname of GAUTREAUX was originally derived from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements WALD (rule) and HERI (army). The name was introduced into England by the Normans during the Invasion of 1066 in the form WALTIER and WAUTIER. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GUALTER, GAULTIER, VALTER, WELTER, WALTZEL, WELZEL and WOLDEKE, to name but a few. Early records of the name in England mention Walterus (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Edmund filius Walter of the County of Cambridgeshire in 1273. Wauter de Cornwaile, 1313, was listed in the Writs of Parliament. Alicia Wartson appears in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Watterson 1495 County Yorkshire. William Walters of the County of Staffordshire in 1327. Charles Walter was registered at Oxford University in 1598. John Walters and Grace Plumer were married at Canterbury in 1663. 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.
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