This name, with variant spellings White, Whitt, Whyte, Witt(e) and Witts, has two possible origins; the first deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hwit(a)" meaning white and originally given as a nickname to one with fair hair or pale complexion. The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 11th Century (see below). One Alestanus Hwit appears in the 1066 Winton Rolls of Hampshire, and an Alwin Wit in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Hampshire. Berwaldus le White is recorded in the 12th Century "Documents of the Danelaw", London. A second distinct possibility is that the name is topographic for one who lived by a bend or curve in a road or river. The derivation is from the Olde English "wiht", a bend. Ralf de Wyte and Jon Atte Wyte are recorded in Somerset and Sussex in 1279 and 1296 respectively. One William Whyte married Janet Pringle on February 21st 1650 at Edinburgh, Midlothian, in Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thurcil Hwita, which was dated 1038, in the "Old English Byname Register for Herefordshire", during the reign of King Harold 1, known as "Harefoot", 1035 - 1040. 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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