This name is of English locational origin from Cottingham a parish near Hull (East Riding of Yorkshire) or a parish near Rockingham (Northamptonshire). Both places are recorded as "Cotingeham" in the Domesday Book of 1066. The name means "The homestead (Olde English "ham") of Cotta's people". The syllable "ing(e)" when following a personal name translates as "descendant of", "dependants of" or more usually "people". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace.The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th century (see below). In 1547 the marriage of one Elizabeth Cotingham and Edmund Bragge is recorded in London Marriage Licence Records. On July 27th 1635, a George Cottingham, ages 20, embarked from London on the ship "Primrose" bound for Virginea. He was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to enter America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus de Cotyngham. which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire". during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots" 1272 - 1307. 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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