This ancient surname of WHYTOCK was derived from two origins. It may be from the Old English word HWIT, a nickname for one with white hair or a pale complexion. 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. The earliest of the name on record appears to be John WYTTOK, who was recorded in Somerset in the year 1327, and William WHITTOC was documented in the year 1334. Other spellings of the name include WITTICK, WITTIG, WHITTOCK, WHYTOCKE and WHITTEK. It was also perhaps of local origin from WHITEHAUCH, anciently QUHITHAUCH in Liddesdale, Scotland. Early records of the name in Scotland include William QUHITTOCK in Edinburgh, who was documented in 1576, and Umphredus QUHITTAK was the heir of James QUHITTAK in Clevage in the year 1636. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. The arms depicted here are the arms of WITTIG.
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