This interesting surname derives from the Germanic personal name "Berto", a short form of the various compound given names with the element "berht" meaning bright or famous. The names Albert (noble-bright), Bertram (bright-raven), Bertrant (bright-shield), Gilbert (bright-pledge), Herbert (army-famous), Hubert (mind-bright), etc., have Bert as a pet form. The final "on" is a diminutive suffix, i.e., "little Bert", Berta (without surname) appears in the records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk (1101). One, Robertus Berte is noted in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex (1196). The form Berthon is French and is found with variant spelling Berton. Pierre, son of Jean and Magdalene Berthon, was christened at the church of Rumigny, Ardennes, France, on October 20th 1604. The name was introduced into England by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecutions in their own country towards the end of the 17th Century. Madelaine, daughter of Michel and Jeanne Berthon, was christened on October 4th 1702, at the Artillery-French Huguenot Church, Spitalfields, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Berthon family, Lyonnais, France, depicts a black chevron on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anthoine Berton who witnessed the christening of his daughter Jeanne which was dated January 1539, St. Florentin's church, Amboise, Indre-et-Loire, France, during the reign of King Francis 1st of France, 1515 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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