Recorded in several spellings including Richter, Richters, and Richteering (German), Rickers (English), de Rechter (Flemish), Rigter (Danish), Rychter (Polish), Rychtar (Czech), and others, this is a surname of pre 7th century origins. It derives from the ancient German word 'rihtoere' meaning 'to make right', and hence this was an occupational or status name for a part time judge or chief. It is said that in the Middle Ages the term was used to mean an amateur settler of disputes, perhaps a village wiseman or somebody so considered, and certainly one held in high esteem by the local community.In some areas there was later a role reversal in that the word and hence the surname, came to mean a full time headman or chief. With this type of name it is always difficult to say after the passage or seven centuries or more, what the actual meaning was at the moment when the name was 'bestowed'. It is always possible that it was a nickname, and might even mean the literally reverse meaning of what it seems to mean. The first known recording in any spelling anywhere is believed to be that of Hugo Richters of Eblingen, Germany in the charters of that town in 1279.
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