This interesting surname is a variant of Whitman, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) 'whit', white, from the Old English pre 7th Century 'hwit', and the Middle English 'man', man. This was either used as a nickname for a man with white hair, or an unnaturally pale complexion, or else as an occupational name for a servant of a bearer of the nickname White. This is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal or bird's appearance or disposition, habits of dress, and occupation. The modern surname can be found as Whitman, Whiteman and Wittman. One Robert Whiteman was an early emigrant to America, leaving London on board the 'Abigall', bound for New England in June 1635. One Christopher Whiteman married Mary Dutton on January 14th 1695 at Allhallows, London Wall, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Witman, which was dated 1230, The Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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