This most interesting surname has two possible sources. Firstly, the name may beof Anglo-Saxon origin, as a locational name from Sidway, a hamlet south-west of Newcastle-under-Lyme in the county of Staffordshire. The surname may also have been a topographical name for a dweller by the wide, broad track or route. Both of these interpretations are derived from the same Olde English pre 7th Century elements: "sid", wide or broad, and "weg", a track or route. 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. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, as both man-made and natural features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include the marriage of Alice Sidwaie and Thomas Smythe on August 10th 1572 at St. James', Clerkenwell, London; the christening of Elizabett, daughter of William Sydway, on November 6th 1580 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London; and the marriage of Ann Sidaway and Jonathan Waugh on December 22nd 1747 at St. George's, Mayfair, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Sidway, which was dated January 28th 1569, a christening witness at Madeley, in Staffordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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