The surname of WILGUS was derived from the Old English word 'wildgos' a nickname for 'a man with a wild disposition'. 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 name is also spelt WILDGOSE, WYLDGOOSE and WILDGUST. Early records of the name mention Henry Wildegos, 1202 County Suffolk. Alicia Wyldguse, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Wylgose of County Sussex, registered at Oxford University in the year 1582. John Wildgoose married Catherine Garvie at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1774. 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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