This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian origin, and is of locational origin from West Garth, near Colinton, Midlothian in Scotland. The placename itself is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century element "west", west and the Norse, Middle English element "garth", enclosed ground used as a yard, garden or paddock. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace.Early recordings of the surname include the marriage of James Westgarthe and Eden Carnabee at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, on September 15th 1619; the christening of John, son of Cuthbt Westgarth, on January 25th 1624, also at the church of All Saints; and the christening of John Westgarth in Edinburgh on May 13th 1769. John Westgarth, aged 28 yrs., was one of the early settlers in the Barbadoes, sailing on the "Peter Bonaventure" in 1635. William Westgarth (1815 - 1889), a notable Australian colonist and politician, actively opposed transportation and represented Melbourne in the New South Wales legislature, 1850 - 1853. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cuthbt Westgarth, which was dated April 19th 1618, a christening witness at All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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