This is apparently a surname of Germanic origins. Always rare, it appears to be recorded as Khoter, Khotler, Khotsch, Khortz and Khotz, suggesting a transposed spelling origin from the personal names of Kort, Kurt, Kortz, or Kurtz. In the dark Ages from about the 5th to the 9th century, roughly after the fall of the Roman Empire in about 420 a.d. to the coming of the Emperor Charlemagne, these were originally baptismal names of endearment, and later in medieval times, nicknames and then surnames. If this hypothosis is correct, the word and hence the name means short, small, or little, and would have been applied either as a nickname for a small person, or given the robust humour of the Middle Ages around the 14th century, the complete reverse! As a good example the largest man in the medieval tales of the outlaws in England lead by the famous Robin Hood, was 'Little John'. However although the surviving publically available recordings of surnames in Germany and The Netherlands, another German speaking country, are much better than most European countries, they still lack the consistency and quality of the British historical records. However we have been able to establish recordings back to the 16th century, and the earliest of thse would seem to be that of Merten Khoter or Khotler, the spelling is unclear, in the registers of Chemnitz, in the state of Sachsen, in Germany, on December 8th 1556.
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