Recorded as Whiteman, Whitman, Whyteman, Wittman and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is derived from the Old English pre 7th century word 'hwit', meaning fair or white and 'man', which may mean friend of, or servant of, Hwit. The personal name was probably ethnic for a Norseman, and therefore in its early days perhaps sardonic, as such people were regarded as invaders, and hence not at the top of the popularuity charts amongst the native Anglo-Saxons. However most dictionaries seem to imply the Hwit was a nickname for somebody with white hair imnplying an older person. If this was the case one has to wonder what were they called before their hair went white! If it is a nickname, it is an example of a major group of early European surnames that were created from the use of a nickname. These were given with for characteristics such as physical peculiarities, or supposed resemblance to something else, such as an animal. Early examples of recordings include Robert Whiteman, an early emigrant to the American Colonies of New England. He left London on board the ship 'Abigall', bound for Virgina in June 1635, whilst Christopher Whittman 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. This was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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