Recorded as Kitto, Kittoe, Kittow and occasionally as Kettoe, Kettow, and Kettowe, this is an English and Cornish surname. It is a localised diminutive development of the medieval Crusader name Christopher, though the short form of Kitt. Christopher from the Ancient Greek 'Kristoperos' is believed to translate as the 'bearer of Christ' and was the name of a martyd 3rd century saint. The fable attached to the name is that the future St Christopher carried the infant Christ across a swollen river, and hence became the patron saint of travellers. As they say 'a likely story,' but one which no doubt assisted the early popularity of this surname. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded although we do have that of Rogerus Christofore in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1379 and Nicholas Christopherson of Dunerdall, Lancashire, in 1598. In Cornwall early recordings include Tamson Kyttowe, whose birth was recorded at St Columb Major in 1581, John Kettoe, also of St Columb Major in 1604, and James Kittowe of Somerset in the register of students at Queens College, Oxford, in 1608.
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