Surname Weatherhead - Meaning and Origin
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Weatherhead: What does the surname Weatherhead mean?
The surname Weatherhead has its origins in England and it is of occupational and topographical nature. Weatherhead is derived from two Old English words, "wether," which refers to a castrated ram, and "heafod," meaning head. So, occupational interpretation could imply it was originally used as a term for a person who was a shepherd or a sheep trader. Meanwhile, as a topographical surname, it could also refer to someone living near the head of a weather (referring to a direction from where weather often came, e.g., a hill top or headland). Despite the interpretations, specific details about the name's origin remain uncertain. Surnames were often used to distinguish individuals with common first names, and tended to be descriptive, associated with one’s occupation, geographical location or physical characteristics. Like many surnames, it was likely passed down through generations within families.
Weatherhead: Where does the name Weatherhead come from?
The last name Weatherhead is most commonly found today in northern England and parts of Scotland. It is spread across a wide range of counties including Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria. The name may also be found in significant numbers in the United States, predominantly in parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England states.
According to a surname study conducted through the General Register Office back in 1881, the last name Weatherhead was most common in the former county of Yorkshire, making up 0.62 percent of the population at the time. Lowestoft in Suffolk also had a very high prevalence of the surname, making up 0.36 percent of the population.
Since then, the prevalence of the last name Weatherhead has spread over a much larger area, as families moved around the country. Within Britain today, the name can still be found across a wide range of areas, although it is particularly prevalent in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire. Meanwhile, in parts of the United States of America, the name is still particularly common in the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic and New England states.
Variations of the surname Weatherhead
The surname Weatherhead has several variations in spelling, as well as related surnames. Examples of such variants include Witcherhead, Watcherhead, Whitcherhead, and Whetherhead. These are all derived from the Old English words ‘waeder’ and ‘haed’, which mean ‘weather’ and ‘head’ respectively.
The surnames Watcher, Whitcher, and Whether are all derived from the same root as Weatherhead. These variants originated in England, where records of the surname date as far back as the 15th century.
The surnames Wetherell and Wetherelt are sometimes classified as variants of Weatherhead, though they may also have distinct origins. Wetherell is derived from the Old English words ‘waeder’ and ‘heall’, which mean ‘weather’ and ‘hall’ respectively. The surname Wetherelt has a Norse origin, coming from the words ‘vethr’ and ‘hildi’, which mean ‘weather’ and ‘battle’.
In addition, Weatherhead is closely related to other surnames, such as Weatherburn, Weatherdon, Weatherston, and Weatherill. These surnames are all derived from either the Old English ‘waedersete’ (‘weather’ and ‘hope’) or the Old Norse ‘vethr’ and ‘setr’ (‘weather’ and ‘place’).
Overall, Weatherhead is a very versatile surname, with a variety of variants and related surnames. This reflects the fact that the surname was in use for centuries, and stretches back to Old English and Norse roots.
Famous people with the name Weatherhead
- Rhys Weatherhead, professional snowboarder from Canada.
- Stuart Weatherhead, Canadian professional golfer.
- Chase Weatherhead, former basketball player from the United States.
- Diesel Weatherhead, Australian professional rugby union player.
- Kirk Weatherhead, former National Football League player.
- Robert Weatherhead, British physician and ophthalmolgist who developed the Weatherhead technique.
- Richard Weatherhead, physicist and engineer who inspired the creation of electrical engineering.
- Max Weatherhead, English cricketer from Surrey.
- Alex Weatherhead, Irish-born professional footballer who played for several clubs in England.
- Jerome Weatherhead, competed in Highland dancing at the Highland Games.