This very unusual surname is English, but of French origins. It derives from either the baptismal 'Piers or Pierre' (the English Peter) or the endearment 'Petit' used, when applied to names, to mean 'Little One'. As such it is found in the French diminutive surnames Pechin, Petetin, Pettet, and Pittet. The medieval and later English spellings are Petkin(s), Petken(s), Patkin and Pitkin, examples being shown below. The name was introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest, one Petrus of Lincoln being recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, whilst John Le Petit, is found in the Rolls of Essex for the year 1228.The church records clearly show the surname development over the centuries, and these record that 'Pitkin' is found in London in Elizabethan times (see below), as is the rare Patkin, Walter Patkin marrying Elizabeth Lussing at St Margarets Church, Westminster on July 1st 1593. Nearly one hundred years later, a Judith Petkin married Benjamin Doncaster at the famous church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on July 20th 1675, whilst on April 18th 1744 Thomas Petken married Ann Stiles at St Martins Outwich, London. A very interesting 'development' of the surname appears with the recording of Thomas Pettican at St Thomas Church, Stepney, on March 27th 1859, showing that even the Victorians were still capable of producing new surnames! The Coat of Arms most associated with the surname has the blazon of- per fesse, a cross moline counterchanged red and silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Pitkin, which was dated February 12th 1575, married at St Lawrence Pountney, 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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