Dith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The distinguished surname Dith emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Dith family originally lived in the town of Ath in Belgium. There it would have been rendered D'Ath, or De Ath, meaning from Ath. It was also occasionally an occupational name for a gatherer or seller of kindling. In this case, the name is derived from the Old English word dethe, which in turn is derived from the Old English word dyth, which means fuel or tinder. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.
"'Death' was a common character in the medieval mysteries or miracle plays: but this surname is probably derived from a local source." 
Early Origins of the Dith family
The surname Dith was first found in Kent at Knowlton and North Cray, where the family held lands since ancient times. However, earlier records of the family were found scattered through Britain including: Robert Deth who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1196; Roger Deth, who was listed in Cheshire in 1221; and Gilbert Deth who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1272.  This author postulates that while the Belgium origin is clearly possible, the name was scattered and accordingly could have also have been derived from the occupation, rather than just as a local surname.
Early History of the Dith family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dith research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1678, 1745, 1707, 1708, 1773, 1750, 1808, 1808 and 1904 are included under the topic Early Dith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Dith Spelling Variations
Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Daeth, D'Aeth, D'Eath, Death, Darth, Dath and others.
Early Notables of the Dith family (pre 1700)
Prominent in the family at this time was Sir Thomas D'Aeth, 1st Baronet (1678-1745) of Knowlton in the County of Kent. He married Elizabeth Narborough, daughter of Rear-Admiral Sir John Narborough.
Sir John along with his two Narborough stepsons died at sea in the Scilly naval disaster of 1707. His flagship, HMS Association, and three other ships were lost, claiming the lives of nearly 2,000 sailors. Knowlton Church has a memorial to...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Dith family
Early records show that people bearing the name Dith arrived in North America quite early: Elizabeth Death, who came to Virginia in 1635; Francis Death, who arrived in Virginia in 1651; Peter Death, who arrived in Virginia in 1637; as well as John George Dath who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1843..
Related Stories +
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)