Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Lythgoe, Lithgow, Ligoe, Lygoe, Lithcow and Lethcoe, this ancient surname is Scottish. It is a condensed form of Linlithgow, from the royal burgh of the same spelling situated between Edinburgh and Falkirk. The component elements of the placename are the Ancient British words llyn - llaoith - cau, which broadly translates as the place in the damp hollow by the lake! In this case the word British refers to the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons.Early examples of the surname recording from the 13th and 14th Centuries include John de Lithcu, in the "Exchequer Rolls" of Scotland, dated 1312, and James Lithgo, who in 1552 in the city of Dundee was charged with the hideous crime of "aiding the English". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced variations in the spelling of the name. The family coat of arms has the blazon of a silver shield with a black demi otter issuing out of a loch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magister Symon de Lynlithcu. This was dated 1225, in the Chartulary of St. Andrew's Priory, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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