Origins of the Chitty name and family


Since all unquestionable CHITTYs seem to derive from a small area covering the Surrey-Hampshire border, it is possible that we may have here an example of a name indicating one ultimate common ancestor, but this can certainly not be proved. Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter King of Arms, has proposed a major transcription and analysis of ancient records to show the earliest examples and distribution of family names, but it will be many years before this can achieve significant results. Meanwhile, those learned men who have devoted their lives to studying surnames - too often, perhaps, concentrating on their individual fixed ideas - have supplied us with several origins for OUR name.

Henry Harrison in 'Surnames of the United Kingdom' connects it with the Anglo-Saxon 'cith' - shoot or sprout - signifying baby, pert child, whelp, kitten, and connected with chit as in 'a chit of a girl'.

Alternatively, he offers a 'rare Anglo-Saxon personal name' Citta, This rare Citta is the supposed founder of Chidden in Hampshire and Chithurst in Sussex; his near namesakes Cetta, Ceafta, Cytta, Cyddi, Cydda and Cydd are deduced from Chetisham, Cambs., Chetnole, Dorset, Chetton, Salop, Chidlow, Cheshire, Chedburgh, Suffolk, Chedworth, Gloucs., Chediston, Suffolk, and possibly many other places. Barber's 'British Family Names' refers to several of them under CHITTY, and some are also invoked under KIDD.

Ferguson in 'Surnames as a Science' and other authorities derive Chiddingfold, Surrey, Chiddingly, Sussex, Chiddingstone and Chittenden, Kent, and Cheddington, Bucks and Dorset, from a supposed Anglo-Saxon 'sept' or sub-tribe, the Cidingas or people of Cidda; and Ferguson seems to think that CHITTY can be taken directly from these Cidingas; though in his 'Teutonic Name System' he finds an old German Giddo as a possible ancestor.

Barber also speaks (under CHITTY and KIDD) of a personal name meaning 'A Striver'.

The Salt Lake City 'Book of Surnames' would derive us from Chittoe, a locality near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, but notes also a Huntingdonshire Domesday Book Saxon tenant 'Wluuin Chit(t)' - remarkable at that date for having two names - owing to the difficulty of pronouncing the first?

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Page created 29 Sept 2001 by Mike Chitty; text written 1975 by the late Erik Chitty