Recorded in many spelling forms including Daughter, Darter, Dauter, Dafter, Dafters, Daftors, and Doctor, this is an English surname, but one with at least two possible origins. The first is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'dohtor' meaning not a doctor but a daughter. For reasons unclear the surname from this source is not well documented. According to various authorities the name may refer not literally to a daughter, but perhaps to an heiress, one who may be expected to inherit her fathers land.As a further example of how words change their meaning, upto quite recently the word 'cousin' was often used to denote not necessary a blood relative, but someone who was a close friend. A second explanation for this surname is French from the word 'darteurre'. This was an occupational name for a maker of darts and arrows, and similar to the English Arrowsmith and Fletcher. The name is found in England as 'Dart' in the 13th century, and later Hughe Darteurre was recorded as a Huguenot refugee in London in 1635. Early examples of the surname recordings include Alice Wilkinsdoghter in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, and later Katherin Doctor at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London in 1570, whilst Durmaric Darter was christened at St. Peters Holborn, also in the city of London in 1609. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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