The Witaker name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon
culture. Their name comes from having lived 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 Witaker 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 Witaker family
The surname Witaker 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 were permitted to keep their estates there. 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." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
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. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
"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. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
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." CITATION[CLOSE]
Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
We tend to believe that name was more likely "derived from a geographical locality. 'of the white acre.' " CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6) 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 Witaker family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Witaker research.Another 334 words (24 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 Witaker History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Witaker Spelling Variations
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Witaker has undergone many spelling variations
, including Whittaker, Whittakers, Whitaker, Whitacre and others.
Early Notables of the Witaker 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... Another 103 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Witaker Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Witaker family to Ireland
Some of the Witaker family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 96 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Witaker family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the unstable social climate in England
of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Witaker were among those contributors:
Witaker Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- James Witaker, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1683 CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
The Witaker 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.