Recorded as Thoday, Thodie, Thody and others, this is an English surname but one with Anglo-Saxon pre 6th century origins. Firstly it is believed to be a form of the Frisian name Thode or Thiede", both nicknames spellings of the popular medieval given name Theoderic. This means "people - power" and should be popular with the radical elements of the 21st century. However the original Theodoric was the Ostro-goth leader (454 - 526) who invaded Italy in 488 and established his capital at Ravenna in 493.He did not take prisoners as the Romans found out the hard way. Secondly the origin could be a short form of the personal name Thaddeus, a name given to one of Christ's disciples in St. Mark's Gospel. This Hebrew name meaning beloved or desired, was adopted by returning Crusaders knights from the Holy Land in the13th century. Early examples of recordings include in Germany that of Volbrath Tede, christened on November 12th 1750 at Kirch-Grubenhagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, whilst in Hertfordshire, England, William Thodie was christened on January 11th 1606 at Wheathampstead and John Thoday married Rebecca Marshall on June 29th 1636 at Abbot's Langley, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name in church registers is believed to be that of Thomas Thody. This was dated October 9th 1570, when he married Lucy Feild, at Weston in Hertfordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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