This unusual and intriguing name is of early medieval English origin, and has two possible derivations, both from Old Germanic personal names. Firstly, Rabbitt can be a diminutive form of Tabb, which is a short, "pet", form of the male given name Robert, a Germanic name composed of the elements "hrod", renown, and "berht", bright, famous. The Normans adopted the name and introduced it into England after the Conquest of 1066, and it quickly became a popular male given name, generating a number of variants and derivative surnames. Secondly, Rabbitt may derive from the Germanic personal name "Radbodo, Rabbodo", composed of the elements "rad", counsel, advice, and "bodo", message, tidings. This was also introduced by the Normans as "Radbode" and "Rabbode", and is so recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname development includes: Andrew Robat (1279, Huntingdonshire), Thomas Robot (1327, Cambridgeshire), and Reginald Rabett (1524, Suffolk). Among the Church Recordings of the name in Suffolk is that of the christening of Lambert Rabbitt, son of Reynolde and Myldred, at Kelsale, on August 4th 1597. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip Rabot, which was dated circa 1260, in the "Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses (Lincolnshire)", during the reign of King Henry 11, 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017