Recorded in several spelling forms including Witty, Wittey, Whitty and Whitey, this is a medieval English nickname surname for a bright or inventive person. It derives from the Middle English "witty", meaning clever or ingenious, and the earlier pre 7th century Olde English "gewittig", meaning wit or mind. It is possible that some early examples may represent a survival into Middle English of the Olde English "Witega", a soothsayer or prophet, but this is not proven. However, there is also a possibility that there has been some confusion with the spelling "whittey", which would then give a different origin from the Middle English "whit", meaning white and "eye", an eye, a nickname for a person with unusually pale eyes. Early examples of the recordings include Sarah Wittey, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Wittey, who was christened at St. Botolph without Aldergate, London in 1684, and Elizabeth Wittie, married at St Dionis Backchurch, London, in 1697. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Robert Witie, which was dated 1221, in the Assize Rolls of the county of Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry III, known by the nickname of "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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