This unusual name has two possible derivations, both of early medieval English origin, from Old French terms introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Firstly, the name Pi(d)geon may be a metonymic occupational surname for someone who hunted wood pigeons, or a nickname for a person thought to be particularly gullible, "easily taken", like the bird, derived from the Middle English "pigeon", from the Old French "pipjon, pijon", young bird, pigeon. Secondly, the surname may have developed from a medieval nickname, "Pet(y)ion", Little John, from the Middle English "pety", small, a development of the Old French "petit", with the given name John, from the Hebrew name "Yochanan", "Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)" or "may Jehovah favour (this child)". An early example of the name from the former source is that of Ralf Pyjun, in the Assize Rolls of Somerset of 1268, while examples from the latter include Relicta Pygon, 1296; and Relicta Pijohan, John Petijohan, and Thomas Pyion, all recorded in Sussex in 1327. Modern variants of the surname include Pi(d)geon, Pidgen, Pid(e)on, Pidgon, and Piggin. William, son of Giles Pidgeon, was christened on July 18th 1635, at Badsey, Worcestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Pigun, which was dated 1200, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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