This interesting surname has two origins. Firstly, it may be of English origin, being a diminutive of Pat(e), itself a pet name of Patrick, originally from the Latin given name "Patricus", meaning "patrician". Secondly, it may be of French origin, being a diminutive of Patte, a nickname applied to a man with large hands or feet, deriving from the Old French "pat(t)e" meaning "paw". This surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and further early recordings include: James Patoun in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire, and John Paton, a witness in the 1413 Feet of Fines of Cambridgeshire. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Patton, Patten and Paten. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Susanna, daughter of George Paton, at St. Martin Ludgate, on November 7th 1574, and the christening of Margaret Paton at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, on November 5th 1581. John and Mary Paton, famine emigrants, sailed from Liverpool aboard the ship "Panthea" bound for New York in December 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Patun, which was dated 1230, in the "Patent Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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