This surname of OATS was derived from the name Odo which was the name of the half-brother of the Norman Conqueror, archbishop of Bayeaux, who accompanied the Norman Expedition to England, and was rewarded with 439 confiscated manors. The German name Odo or Otto was a hereditary name in the Saxon ruling house, as well as being borne by Otto von Wittelsbach, who founded the Barvarian ruling dynasty in the 11th century, and the 12th century Otto of Bamburg, apostle of Pomerania. This surname is of two-fold origin. It was derived from the Old German ODO a nickname meaning riches, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. It was also a locational name 'of Belchamp Otton' a spot in County Essex, from where the original bearer may have derived his name. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Early records of the name mention Ode, Odo and Otho, who were all listed as tenants-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Willelmus filius Oten, appears in London in 1160, and Willelmus filius Ote, was recorded in 1177 in County Essex. Andrew Otes was documented in County Norfolk in 1275. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people.
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