This surname of WHITEBREAD was originally derived from the Old French 'blanchpain' a maker and seller of white-bread. The acquisition of surnames in Europe and England, during the last eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in cultures and traditions. On the whole the richer and more powerful classes tended to aquire surnames earlier than the working class or the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. The bulk of surnames in England were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in place names into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The name is also spelt WITBREAD, WHYTEBREAD, WHATEBREAD, WYTEBERD, WITBERD, WHITBERD and WHITEBERD. Early records of the name mention William Wytebred, 1273 County Lincolnshire. Roger Wythbred, 1254 County Sussex. Thomas Whitebread married Debora Boden at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1661. A number of bearers of this name trace their descent from Roger Wytbred, recorded in Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire in 1254. His name is also found in the Anglo Norman form Blaunpayne. A notable member of the name was Samuel WHITBREAD (1758-1815) the English politician, son of Samuel WHITBREAD (1720-1796) the founder of the famous brewing firm. From Eton he passed to Oxford and in 1790 entered parliament. Under Pitt he was leader of the Opposition. 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. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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