This is a very unusual surname. It is Welsh in origin, deriving from the famous early medieval female name Angaharad, also recorded as Angharat, Angoret, Anharet, Angarat, Ankrett and Ankritt. As to why personal names became surnames, and in particular why female names became surnames, is one of the mysteries of medieval etymology. The reasons are complex, but are concerned with the often early deaths amongst young male fathers through wars and hazardous occupations. As a result women often became the head of the family, and in later years the children would sometimes take the mothers name as their surname, rather than the name of a sometimes long deceased father. The early registers of Wales are rarely concise and accurate, partly because Wales did not adopt hereditary surnames as we know them today, until several centuries after England. The exceptions were the Border Counties between Wales and England where Welsh names often predominated, and it is from these and particularly with this surname, the county of Shropshire, that recording examples have been taken. These are Thomas Ankrett and his wife Sarah and Smethcott church, on August 5th 1739, and William Ankritt at Stapleton, on June 9th 1765.
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