Recorded in various spellings including Petkens Patkin, Petkin, Peskin, Pitkin, Potkin, this very unusual surname is English, but of French origins. It derives from either the baptismal name Pierre, the English Peter, or the word petit used as an endearment baptismal name as "Little One". It is found in the French diminutive surnames Pechin, Petetin, Pettet, and Pittet. The name was introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest, with Petrus of Lincoln being recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, and John Le Petit, in the Pipe Rolls of Essex for the year 1228. The early church records the surname development over the centuries, and include Walter Patkin who married Elizabeth Lussing at St Margarets Church, Westminster on July 1st 1593, Judith Petkin who 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! 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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