This interesting and unusual name, recorded in English church registers from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Whattyngham, and Wattingham, is of English locational origin, and is either a dialectal variant of Waddingham (with the "d" sharpened to "t") a place near Kirton Lindsey, Lincolnshire, or from a now "lost" village or hamlet called W(h)attingham. Recorded as Wadingeham in the Domesday Book of 1086, The Lincolnshire place has as it's component elements the Old English pre 7th Century personal byname Wada, the name of a legendary sea-giant, plus "ing", "people of", and "ham", homestead; hence, "homestead of Wada's people". On May 20th 1662, William Wattingam, an infant, was christened in Barrow, Shropshire, and on May 2nd 1731, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Wattingham, was christened in St. Lawrence, Chobham, Surrey. The marriage of Elizabeth Wattingham and James Smither took place in All Saints, Wandsworth London on January 8th 1787. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Whattyngham (marriage to Agnes Sheperde), which was dated December 16th 1560, Doncaster, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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