Recorded as Ebb, Ebbe, Ibb, with diminutives Ebben, Ebbett, Ebbitt, Ebbot, Ebbott, Ebbutt, Ibbett, Ibbot, Ibbuts, and patronymics including Ebbs, Ebson, Ebbson, Ebbetts, Ebbitts, Ebbotts, Ebbettson, Ibbotson and others, this is an English medieval surname. It has a rather confused origin, being as a diminutive or patronymic, a male name but a metronymic, and hence based upon a female name, the popular early female Elisheba, the later Elizabeth or Isabel, meaning "God has given me satisfaction". This name was introduced into the British Isles by the Norman invaders after 1066. A metronymic surname was one which descended from the mother, not the father. So as an example, Ebb or Ibb, the shortform of Isabel, would be the mother's name, and her son would be called Ebben, Ebbett or Ibben, and his son would be Ebson, Ebettson or Ibbotson. A metronymic usually occured when the mother was both a widow and a land owner in her own right, or a person of a higher status than her husband, and therefore their eldest son took her name. The surname is ancient being well recorded in the early surviving tax rolls and registers of England. These examples include Adam Ebboth in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of the landowners of Sussex in the year 1327, Ralph Ebbotts in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, John Ebbitt in the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire in 1674, and Lancelot Ebbutt, a christening witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on September 10th 1724.
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