This unusual surname, chiefly found in Nottinghamshire, is a diminutive of the more familiar Foot, itself a descriptive nickname for someone who travelled on foot, perhaps an infantry soldier or swift messenger. Foot is a very ancient surname, the earliest recorded bearer being Ernui Fot, noted in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was also found as a personal name in the Old Norse as "Fotr", and as such, forms the first element of otherby, a parish and village in north Lincolnshire, recorded as "Fotrebi", circa 1115 in the Lincolnshire Survey. It is also possible that Foot originated as a topographical name from residence by a place where horse-racing, or the ancient Scandinavian sport of horse-fighting, was carried out. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Olde English "(ge)feoht", fight, race, contest, found as a latter element in Follifoot (Yorkshire), the first being "foli", foal, horse. Diminutive forms of the name include: Footie, Futie and Fotie, having the characteristic northern English suffix "-ie", small, little, are widely recorded in North Burton, Yorkshire, from 1539. Foottit is also found as Footit, Footett, Footiot and Footet, the "-it" and "-et(t)" being French diminutive suffixes. On October 28th 1587, Joan Foottit and Edward Clay were married at Askham, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Footitte, which was dated May 27th 1584, marriage to Hugh Collington, at Headon, Nottinghamshire, 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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