This uncommon and interesting name is of Anglo-Scandinavian origin, and derives from a short form of the popular Olde English male personal name "Waeltheof", from the Old Norse "Valthiofr". The given name is composed of the Old Norse elements "val", battle, with "thiofr", thief, denoting "one who snatched victory out of battle". It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Waltef, Walteu, Walteif" and "Waldeuus", and most early recordings of the personal name and the surname are to be found in the north of England and in Scotland. Willelmus filius (son of) Walden is listed in the Yorkshire Pipe Rolls of 1192, and Waldef filius Waldef appears in the Cumberland Curia Rolls of 1212. That the personal name was extremely popular is well borne out by the large number and variety of surnames that it has generated; these range from Walthew, Waltho, Wilthew and Wealthy, to Waldie, Waldo, Waldy, Wild(e)y and Wildee. The latter forms are due to southern dialectal influences. Examples of the name from London Church Registers include: the marriages of Izabell Wyldie and George Martyne at St. Giles' Cripplegate, on February 13th 1585, and of William Wildey and Margaret Hawkins on April 18th 1626, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts, on a blue shield, five black gouttes on a gold chevron between three gold martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Waldi, which was dated 1400, admitted burgess of Aberdeen Scotland, during the reign of King Robert 111 of Scotland, 1390 - 1406. 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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