This interesting and unusual surname is a diminutive of Weiss, which is of German origin, and is from a nickname for someone with white hair or an unnaturally pale complexion from the German "weiss", white. This is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal or bird's appearance or disposition, habits of dress, and occupation.This name is similar to the English, Scottish and Irish White. The modern surname can be found as Weiss(e), Weisser(t), Wyss, Wittle, Wittje and Wittgen. Among the recordings in Germany are the marriage of Christoph Wittke and Christina Schwartz on January 20th 1758 at Germau, PR., Ostpreussen, and the christening of Ludwick, son of Johann, Wittke and Eleonore Achtsnicht, on March 28th 1811 at St. Johanh's, Bartenstein, PR, Ostpreussen. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Wittki (christening), which was dated March 20th 1591, Napraften, PR., Ostpreussen, Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 11, "Holy Roman Emperor", 1576 - 1612. 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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