Early Victorian researchers concluded that this name was a vicious nickname which meant "a dwarf", it derives from the Olde French "petit cru" (little growth) and was quite clearly a term of affection for a son or perhaps a friend like "young man" or "old son" as examples. In fact with some six modern spellings Pettegree, Petegree, Petticrew, Petticrow, Pettigree and Pettigrew the name could hardly have achieved this level of popularity had the origin been uncomplimentary. Thomas Pettigrew was an early archeaologist and senior surgeon at Charing Cross hospital in 1835. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Peticruw which was dated 1227 in the "Essex Assize Court" 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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