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WALTERS Family History
Recorded as Walter, Walters, Waldar, Walder, Walther, and occassionally as Wolter or Wolters, this is an ancient Anglo-Saxon surname. It derives from the pre-7th century Old German personal name 'Waldhar', a compound of the elements 'wald', meaning rule, and 'hari', an army. There is also a Dutch variation of the name (Wolters) as well as Flemish forms (Wauters and Wouters).
The personal name was introduced into England during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1077), and after the Norman Conquest of 1066 was widely adopted firstly as a Christian name and later a surname as well.
It was first recorded as Walterus and Walterius in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a personal name. It was first recorded as a surname during the latter half of the 12th century when a Petrus Walterus was recorded in the Feudal Documents of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds.
It was originally a patronymic surname, meaning 'son of Walter' or 'son of Wat' (Wat being a diminutive of Walter). It had developed into a hereditary surname in England by around 1400.
In Wales however it developed into a surname later than this, generally between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Welsh form of Walter as a personal name was 'Gwallter', but Walter and Walters are the forms used as a surname. It generally appears in mid and south Wales more often than in the north.
British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning (1903) by Henry Barber
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