This unusual name is believed to be a medieval patronymic, derived from the Olde English term "huit" meaning white. It was used to describe someone with white hair or an unusually pale complexion. The suffix "et" is a shortened form of the French "Petit" meaning small, thus Whittet may describe "a little white" or "son of White". The name also has topographical roots, as it can be traced to the Olde English "wiht" meaning "dweller by a bend or curve" in a river or road; hence Whittet would describe "the son of he who dwelt by a river\road bend". On July 1st, 1821 one James Whittet was christened at St. Dionis, Backchurch in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Whiteyate, married, which was dated January 18th 1567, St. Dunstan in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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