This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and derives from a medieval given name, "Bett", a short form of either "Bartholomew, Beatrice", or "Elizabeth". The plural form of the modern surname Betts, can therefore be a patronymic, from the father, or a metronymic, from the mother, meaning "son of Bett". "Bartholomew" derives from the Aramaic patronymic "bar-Talmy", which means "rich in land", the short form "Bet(t)" being recorded in London in 1312 with Robert Bet, son of Bartholomew Bette. "Beatrice" derives from a French medieval given name, originally the Latin "viatrix", traveller. "Elizabeth" is Hebraic in origin, and means "oath of God", first written as "Elisheva". The later form was "Elishabat", the second element meaning "peace", or "sabbath", and "El", God. Alice Betts and John Samson were married at St. Dunstan's West London, in February 1560. Leonard Betts was the captain of the "Paule", sailing out of London in 1635, transporting English emigrants to the new settlements in Virginia. A Coat of Arms granted to a Betts family from Suffolk is described thus: "Sable (black) on a bend argent (silver) three cinquefoils gules (red) all within a bordure engrailed of the second. Crest - Out of a ducal coronet or (gold), a buck's head gules attired gold". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Terri Bette, which was dated circa 1154, in the "History of St. Bartholomew's Hospital", London, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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