This very unusual name is a late variant form of the medieval German "Ortgies", recorded as early as the 14th Century (see below). The name is topographical and translates literally as one resident at the "ort", a place or square. The modern spelling suggests an occupational role for one who worked at "the place, or square", but it is more likely that it describes one who dwelt at the square, a similar formation to the English "Brooker". Either way the name has a long history, being found as a personal name (Ortigies Klenke) in Upper Bavaria in 1324. The later surname recordings include Francisca Ortgies, who married Johann Luebbe at Westfalen, on January 1st 1757, although an earlier recording in a variant form was Heilwig Orthgirs, who married Claus Bullwinkel on January 10th 1702 at Hambergen, Hanover. Another spelling is that of Christian Orthgier, who was christened at Hausberge, Westfalen, on January 28th 1822. The modern form is a dialectal variation. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Claus Orthgisus, which was dated 1319, a landholder at Bremen, North West Germany, during the reign of Louis 1V of Bavaria and Frederick of Habsburg, Co-regents of Germany, 1314 - 1347. 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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