This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two possible meanings. Firstly, it may be from a nickname for someone with remarkably white or blonde hair, deriving from the Middle English "whit", white, with "lock", a tress or a curl. However, there is also an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name composed of the elements "whit", demon or elf, and "lac", play or sport; hence, "elf play", and Whitlock, and its variant Whitelock, may be from this source. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, or to habits of dress. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1208 (see below): John Witloc (1243), and William Whytlok (1285). Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Carleton, son of Bulstrode and Mary Whitelock, on June 21st 1652, at St. Pancras', Soper Lane, and the christening of Richard, son of John and Elizabeth Whitelock, on January 17th 1655, at St. Andrew's, Holborn. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is on a blue shield a chevron between three eagles close gold, the Crest being on a silver castle a gold eaglet, wings displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Toke Wicelok, which was dated 1208, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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