Whittakers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The history of the Whittakers family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in one of a number of similarly-named places. The settlement of Wheatacre is in Norfolk, while Whiteacre in Waltham is in Kent; both of these names literally mean wheat-field. The place named Whitacre is in Warwickshire, while High Whitaker is in Lancashire; these names both mean white field. The surname Whittakers belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the Whittakers family
The surname Whittakers was first found in Warwickshire where the first record of the name was Johias Whitacre (1042-1066), who died while fighting at the Battle of Hastings on the side of King Harold. Despite the fact he was on the losing side of the battle, his family was permitted to keep their estates. The place names Whitacre, Over Whitacre and Nether Whitacre were listed in the Domesday Book as Witacre and literally meant "white cultivated land" from the Old English words "hwit" + "aecer." 
One of the earliest rolls was the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Those rolls listed: Alan Witacur in Oxfordshire; and Richard de Whitacre in Northamptonshire. Years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Henricus Wyteacre; Willelmus de Wetaker; and Rogerus Whitteacres. 
"The Whittakers or Whitakers are numerous in Lancashire. From the 14th to the 16th century a gentle family of this name lived at High Whitaker or Whitacre in the vills of Simonstone and Padiham, in the parish of Whalley: the Whitakers of Holme and those of Henthorn branched off in the 15th century and those of Healy about 1620. " 
One of the more interesting etymologies we found was the following: "local. The north part of a graveyard allotted to the poor was called Whittaker, from wite, a penalty, and acre,-a place of burial for criminals. A culprit who could not discharge the penalty or wite became a "witetheow," and was buried in the wite-acre. Bailey defines Whittaker "the north-east part of a flat or shoal-the middle ground." 
We tend to believe that name was more likely "derived from a geographical locality. 'of the white acre.' "  as the former entry would suppose that there would be many such listings of the surname scattered throughout ancient Britain and this was clearly not the case.
Early History of the Whittakers family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whittakers research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1375, 1548, 1595, 1586, 1580, 1646, 1640, 1622, 1695, 1659, 1661, 1679, 1642, 1715, 1695, 1696, 1701, 1702, 1660, 1735 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Whittakers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Whittakers Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Whittakers include Whittaker, Whittakers, Whitaker, Whitacre and others.
Early Notables of the Whittakers family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include Sir Richard de Whitacre (c.1300-1375), Lord of the Manors of Nether Whitacre, Over Whitacre, Elmdon, and Freasley, he claimed direct descendancy for the aforementioned Johias Whitacre; William Whitaker (1548-1595), English Anglican theologian, Master of St. John's College, Cambridge; Henry Whitaker, English politician, Member of Parliament for Westbury in 1586; William Whitaker (c.1580-1646) of Shaftesbury, an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury in 1640; Henry Whitaker (c...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Whittakers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Whittakers family to Ireland
Some of the Whittakers family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Whittakers migration to the United States +
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Whittakers or a variant listed above:
Whittakers Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Elizabeth Whittakers, who landed in Virginia in 1623 
- Isacke Whittakers, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 
- Mary Whittakers, who landed in Virginia in 1623 
Related Stories +
The Whittakers Motto +
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: Spes et fides
Motto Translation: Hope and faith.
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)