Recorded as Otto, Odo, Odda, and patronymics Odson, Odeson, Otheson, Otson, Ottosen, Ottoson, and possibly others, this is a surname that in various ways has been recorded in England since 1066 but is probably of early Scandanvian - Viking origins. It translates as "wealth," and was originally as Oda and Otto a personal name that was hereditary within the Saxon royal family of Germany. It was also the name of Otto, the half brother of Duke William of Normandy, the future William 1st of England, and later known as The Conqueror. Otto was subsequently rewarded for his support of William during the famous Conquest of 1066 with no less than four hundred and thirty nine manors confiscated from the Anglo-Saxons! As a surname at least fourteen coats of arms have been granted to the Otto's of Saxony, Prussia, Austria, The Netherlands and France. It is unclear when the name was first recorded in England other than that of Duke Otto of Normandy, who does not seem to have left descendants. Examples of recordings taken from early surviving church registers of the city of London include Francis Otson at St Botolphs without Aldagte, in 1571, Elizabeth Otto, at St. Pauls, Westminster in 1697, and Fredreick Ottoson at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, on November 7th 1795. 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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