This unusual and interesting surname found in the spellings of Musslewhite, Musselwhite, and Muzzlewhite, is of pre 10th century Anglo-Saxon origin. It is 'residential' and as such is recorded mainly in the South-western English counties of Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire. It derives from a now "lost" medieval hamlet thought to have been situated on the tidal area of the river Itchen, and somewhere in the area between the cities of Salisbury and Southampton. The name translates as 'the bend (in a river) where mussels are found', from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'musle', and 'wiht', a bend, or curve. Residential or locational surnames were taken or given as easy identification after a person left their 'home' village or town and moved elsewhere, by their new neighbours. This seems to be the case with this surname, even though most of the 'moves' were short distances. The surname development includes the first name holder below, who married Ann Rose, at Bramshaw, Wilshire, and Ann Musselwhite who married John Gauntlet at Downton in Wiltshire, on June 4th 1621. A later recording is that of Samuel Musselwhite who married Elizabeth Hetherington, at St James church, Westminster, on May 25th 1768, whilst on November 13th 1832 Martha Mussellwhite married James Walton at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of David Muslewhite, which was dated May 10th 1618, who married at Bramshaw, in the county of Wiltshire, during the reign of King James 1st of England, and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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