This interesting surname is of English locational origin from a place thus called in Devonshire, recorded as "Witefort" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as "Witeford" in the 1168 Pipe Rolls of the county. The placename derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "hwit" meaning white plus "ford" a ford. During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 16th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Wetford, Witford, Whitforde, Whiteford, etc. On March 10th 1590, David Whitford married Lettice Wylliams at the Church of St. Giles Cripplegate, London. John, son of Walter and Annice Whitford, was christened at Dartington Church, Devonshire, on March 14th 1618. A Coat of Arms granted to the Whitford family depicts three gold garbs (sheaves of wheat) on a black cotised bend, on a blue shield. On the Crest is a gold cross calvary on three degrees (steps). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wetford which was dated August 20th 1562, marriage to Margery Caiter, at "St. Vedast's Church, Foster Lane, London", 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 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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