This German surname of VOYTEK was a nickname for someone with some peculiarity or deformity of the foot, rendered in medieval documents in the form FOTR. The name has many variant spellings which include VOTTER, FOOTE, FOTH, VOOTH, VOET, FUSSEL and FUSSLE. 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. A minor notable of the name was Maurice Eldred VOTAW, born on the 29th April 1899. He was an Educator and Journalist, and his appointments included; Instructor to the Professor and Registrar and Professor and Dean of the College of Arts from 1948 until 1949 at St. John's University of Shanghai, China. Adviser to the Chinese Government Ministry of Information, Chungking (1939-46); Editor of 'The Columbia Missourian' from 1950; he was the author of short stories and the editor of the China Handbook. He was awarded the Chinese Victory Medal in 1946. 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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