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Whotton Coat of Arms / Whotton Family Crest

The surname of WHOTTON was a locational name 'of Wootton' a parish in County Bedford, a parish in Berkshire near Abingdon, and parishes in Kent, Lincoln and Staffordshire. The name was derived from the Old English word WUDUTUN, and literally meant the dweller in, or by the wood or forest. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. Early records of the name mention OTONE (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. WUDUTONE (without surname) was documented in the year 1197 in County Bedfordshire. Robert de Wottone, was recorded in 1273 County Devon. John atte Wodeton of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John de Wodeton of County Essex, registered at Oxford University in 1750. George Wootten married Elizabeth Bagshaw, in 1667, Canterbury, Kent. 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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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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