The surname of GITHENS was a baptismal name 'the son of Gethin' a name meaning 'one with a dark complexion and hair'. It was a Welsh personal name originally derived from the Old Welsh CETHIN. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Eunon Gethin, who was documented in 1331 in Wales, and Edwin Gethine of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Gettyns was documented in 1500 in Yorkshire. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Later records of the name mention Richard Gittin of Malpas, listed in the Wills at Chester in 1545. Jane Gittins of Chester, 1672 ibid. Arms registered at Reyton, County Breckneck.
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