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Surname Whitaker - Meaning and Origin

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Whitaker: What does the surname Whitaker mean?

The last name Whitaker is of English origin and is derived from the Middle English given name 'whit', meaning 'white', indicating fair skin or blonde hair. The second part of the name, 'aker', is an old English and Scandinavian term for 'dweller' or 'oak dweller', indicating someone who lived near a white oak tree. The earliest traceable record of the Whitaker surname is found in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is listed as Witacra.

Over the centuries the name Whitaker has been a general one throughout England and it has remained relatively common to this day. The name can be found all over the United Kingdom and the United States, with records showing that some of its earliest bearers arrived in the New World in the 17th century.

The Whitaker family is the name of several small towns and hamlets in England and America, as well as a number of emigrant families who chose to make new lives in the world beyond Britain's shores. As a result, Whitaker is an extremely diverse surname. No matter which country or region it is found in, the name carries with it a sense of resilient strength, persistence and determination that has seen it endure throughout the generations.

Whitaker: Where does the name Whitaker come from?

The last name Whitaker is a very common name today, especially in English-speaking countries. The surname is believed to be of Anglo-Saxon and/or Welsh origin, with its earliest known source being written in Latinized form as ‘Witacar’ in the Domesday Book of 1086. Since then, it has spread throughout Europe, notably to the United States and Canada in the 19th and 20th century waves of immigration.

In the United States, Whitaker specificaly is most commonly found in the states of Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, and Virginia. It is also a prevalent surname in the United Kingdom, where its popularity has increased substantially from the mid-19th century to today. In Canada, Whitaker is more widely distributed throughout the provinces, and is especially concentrated in British Columbia.

In terms of frequency, Whitaker ranks as the 610th most popular surname in the United States; 10,470th in England and Wales; and 9,140th in Canada. Today, there are many notable Whitakers, from the illustrious British actor Timothy Whitaker, to the former goalkeeper for the English national football team, Chris Whitaker.

Variations of the surname Whitaker

The surname Whitaker has a variety of variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. Whitaker is an Anglo-Saxon surname, derived from pre-7th century Old English "hwit," which means "white" and "acre," which means field or plot of land. Common variants of Whitaker include Whittaker, Whittiker, Whytacre, Wightaker, Whiteacre, Witeacre, Whitacre, Wightacres, and Whiteacres as well as hyphenated variations such as White-maker, Whittiker, Whitt-aker, and Whittecker.

In addition, Whitaker often occurs as a double name combining it with a second, usually Christian name used as a store or surname, as in Whitaker-Jones or Whitaker-Smith.

The name Whitaker is also known in Europe under a number of different guises including Whyteacre, Witaker, Whittaker, Ryteacker, Weytecker, Whitehoke, Whitachor, and Witecker, to name a few.

Some other variations of Whitaker include Blitheker, Whitehog, Witaker, Whitager, Whitsiker, Whyteker, Whitaker (in Ireland), Wicaker, Witeacker, Whittick, Whitehock, Whitticar, Whitehawk, Widaker, Widdicar, and Whitecoat. In Germany, the Whitaker surname is known as Weidacher or Weidicker and in Denmark it is known as Hvitager.

Although derived from the same Anglo-Saxon origin, Whitaker is also known as Watkin, Watkins, and Wattkins. These surnames are derived from "Wat," an old English nickname or pet form of the names Walter and Water.

Famous people with the name Whitaker

  • Forest Whitaker: Academy Award-winning actor, producer and director.
  • Jeff Whitaker: American physicist and professor in the Atmospheric Science Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Will Whitaker: Major League Baseball pitcher for five seasons in the early 1960s.
  • Cheryl Whitaker: African-American singer, songwriter and record producer.
  • Art Whitaker: Football coach in the United States, at the collegiate and professional level.
  • Kim Whitaker: American football coach and former player, best known as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL).
  • Sam Whitaker: American character actor best known for a critically acclaimed role in "Ordinary People".
  • Rich Whitaker: American Professional Wrestling manager.
  • Clarence Whitaker: Former National Football League linebacker who played for 11 seasons for the New Orleans Saints.
  • Hilary Whitaker: British actress best known for her roles in the television show "Coronation Street" and the feature film "Daddy's Girl".

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