This unusual and interesting name, recorded in English church registers under the variant spellings Brotherhed, Brotherheed, Brotherhead, Bretherhod etc., from the mid 16th Century, has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may have originated as a distinguishing nickname for one belonging to a religious confraternity, the derivation being from the old English "brothar" meaning "brother", plus the suffix forming noun "hood", (old English "had"); hence, "brothorhad". Secondly, the name may be a dialectal variant of a now lost place, originally in Lincolnshire having as its first element the old Norse personal name "Brothir", plus the old English "heafod", (related to the old Norse "haufuth"), meaning "head", "promontory", "headland"; hence, "Brothir's headland". On February 20th 1592 Thomas Brotherheed, an infant, was christened in Timberland, Lincolnshire, and in February 1608 Nicholas Brotherhook married Marie Jhonsonne in Fleckney, Leicestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Brotherhed, (marriage to Jenet Tempyll), which was dated May 10th 1563, at Timberland, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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