Recorded as Bothen, Botten, Botton, Bootton, Bottoner, Button, Butner, (English) and Bouton, Boutonier, and Buttonnier (French), this is an occupational surname. It is ultimately of pre 10th century Old French origin, and was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a metonymic, which is to say an occupational nickname for a maker of buttons, being originally derived from the words boton meaning a lump or prejection. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son followed the father or sometimes the mother, into the same business or profession. This surname was first recorded in England in the late 13th century and early recordings include: Reginald Botoner in the Hundred Rolls of the city of London in 1273, and Ambrose Button of Wiltshire, listed in the register of students of the University of Oxford for the year 1568. Thomas Botton was an early namebearer who appeared on a list of those living in Virginia colony in February 1623, whilst Napoleon Botton sailed to America on the ship Windsor Castle on June 9th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Boton. This was dated 1272, in the "Hundred Rolls" of the county of Sussex. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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