This interesting name with variant spellings Petican, Pedican and Petycan is well recorded in Essex Church Registers from the mid 16th Century and is believed to be of French Huguenot origin. During the 16th Century and early 17th Centuries thousands of Huguenot refugees fled their own countries to escape religious persecution and settled in England. The name derived from the Olde French "petit" meaning "little" plus "canne" a milk churn (Normandy), and was probably originally given as a nickname to a maker or seller of these vessels. On June 9th 1560 Andrew Pedican and Elizabeth Dyke were married in Belchamp Walter, Essex and on August 5th 1584 William Petycan married an Elizabeth Allen in Great Horkesley. On November 11th 1765 Elizabeth Pettican and John Wright were married in Hockley and on June 4th 1804 Mary daughter of John Pettican was christened in Colchester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jonne Petican married Miles Ehowe, which was dated October 22nd 1555 in Chappel, Essex, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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