This unusual and intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century male personal name "Wulfgeat", which survived into Middle English as "Wolfet, Wolfat". The Olde English name was composed of the elements "wulf", wolf, and the ethnic name "Geat", from the tribe known in Anglo-Saxon times as the "Geatas", the Scandinavian people to which Beowulf belonged. The given name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in a variety of forms: "Wluiet, Wluiat, Vlfiet and Vluiet", while Wulfiet Mus is recorded in the Nottinghamshire Pipe Rolls of 1176, and Wulfet de Branwic was a listed witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. The popularity of the given name is borne out by the number and variety of surnames that it generated; these range from Woolfit(t), Wolfit and Wo(o)llett, to Wooffitt, Woffit(t) and Wool(v)ett. Examples of the surname from Lincolnshire Church Registers (the name is particularly prevalent in that county) include the following recordings of christenings: Thomas Wooffoote, on March 27th 1594, at Barton upon Humber; Frances Wooffett, in Canwick, on October 25th 1730; and John Wooffitt, on November 25th 1770, at Bracebridge. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Leuricus Wlfuiet, which was dated 1199, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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