There are two possible origins for this unusual name. The first is Olde English pre 7th Century and is a developed form of the personal name "Aedelhere" which translates as "noble - army" plus "ham" to give "The home of Aedelhere". The second possible origin is a combination of the Norse-Viking personal name "ohar of othar" plus the Anglo - Saxon "in" - a shortened form of "kin" to imply "the son of Othar". The modern spelling is clearly a derivation through the medieval "otten" which has an alternative form in "Otham" or "Ottam" whilst in Essex an October 21st 1781 yet another variant was recorded when one Joseph Oaten married Sarah Page at Hockley.The first name recording as "Othen" would seen to be William Othen, who was a witness at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster on September 15th 1737 in the reign of King George II, (1727 - 1760). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Steinkin Otten, which was dated October 31st 1596, married Frederick Steen at St. Andrews by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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