This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Whitacre in Warwickshire; Whitaker (Lancashire); Whiteacre in Waltham, Kent; or from Wheatacre near Beccles, Norfolk. The former two places derive their name from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hwit", (Middle English "whit"), white, with "feld", pasture, open country, land free from wood (as opposed on the one hand to "aecer", cultivated soil, enclosed land, and on the other to "weald", wooded land). The latter two are so called from the Olde English "hwaete", wheat, and "aecer", cultivated soil. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the Lord of the Manor, and especially to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early examples of the surname include: Simon de Wit Acra (Warwickshire, 1180); Robert de Witacra (Northamptonshire, 1189) and Richard de Whitacre (Lancashire, 1336). In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Whiteaker, Whitaker, Whittaker, Whitticase and Widaker. George Whittaker (1793 - 1847), was a successful bookseller and publisher; among others, he published for Sir Walter Scott, author of such classics as Ivanhoe and The Talisman. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Wetacra, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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