This interesting surname is of Gaelic origin, and is a Scottish locational name from the old lands of "Reattie" or "Raittie" in the parish of Innerboyndie, Banffshire. The placename derives from the Gaelic "Rath", "Rait", a fort, town, with the diminutive suffix"-ie"; hence "little fort or town". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname can also be found as Raitie, Raittie and Ratie. Recordings of the surname from various Church Registers include: the christening of Marmaducus, son of Thomi Rettey, on March 8th 1581, at Ripon, Yorkshire; the marriage of William Raitie and Agnes Wobster, on September 29th 1677, at Marnock, Banffshire; the marriage of Margaret Rettie and John Imlach, on May 3rd 1774, at the same place; and the marriage of James Rettie and Jean Liel on June 14th 1782, at Banff, Banffshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willmus Rettie, which was dated 1474, in the "Guildry of Edinburgh", during the reign of King James 111 of Scotland, 1460 - 1488. 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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