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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The distinguished surname Pitts 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 Pitts family originally lived in the settlement of Pett in Kent, in the place named Pitt in Hampshire, or in any low-lying area resembling a pit or hollows. The surname Pitts is derived from the Old English words pytt, which means pit. Pitts belongs to both the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, or other places, and the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.
The surname Pitts was first found in Dorset at Blandford (Blandford Forum), a parish, in the union of Blandford, hundred of Coombs-Ditch. "The church [of Blandford], with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in 1711, by Governor Pitt, ancestor of the Earl of Chatham and of Lord Camelford; it is in the Grecian style, and contains the remains of many of the Pitt family."  Thomas Pitt (1653-1726), the famed English merchant and progenitor of the family of note was born here.
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 Pitt, Pit and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pitts research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1804, 1560, 1616, 1559, 1636, 1614, 1625, 1606, 1672, 1654, 1660, 1643, 1624, 1625, 1694, 1660, 1679, 1627, 1686, 1660, 1679, 1680, 1639, 1697, 1653, 1713, 1653 and 1726 are included under the topic Early Pitts History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 319 words (23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pitts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Pitts family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Pitts:
Pitts Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Pitts Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Pitts Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Pitts Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Pitts Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Pitts Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Per ardua liberi
Motto Translation: Free thro' difficulties.
The Pitts Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pitts Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 24 March 2016 at 10:26.