What's In Your Name?
WHITE Has Three Sources
(From Tulsa Daily World, Tulsa, OK, Feb 21, 1969)
By Sanson Institute of Heraldry
The name White is the family name of the barons of Annaly and the 16th most common name in the United States, according to recent figures. The name has at least three sources of origin.
As a descriptive name it referred to someone of fair (white) complexion or light-colored hair. Its roots are found in the Anglo-Saxon word "hwita". It appears in England both before and after the Conquest as a personal name.
Some Whites originally were Wights (from the Anglo-Saxon "wiht" meaning vailant) while others were recorded in early records as "atte wyte" (the one who lives at the curve in the road) or "atte wayte" (the one who lives at the look-out post).
Whatever the source for the name, the sheer numbers alone made it almost inevitable that distinction should accrue to persons of the name. John White was bishop of Lincoln in 1554 and bishop of Winchester in 1557.
Most Irish Whites originally were Englishmen, such as Walter Whyte who accompanied Stronbow at the invasion of Ireland in 1170. The name appears with considerable frequency in early lists of mayors and sheriffs in county Limerick from 1213 on.
Scots records include a mention of William Albus (the Latin form for White) as a witness to a 13th century grant while Robert Whytte was the first provost of Kirkehaldie.
Most recently, the name calls to mind Stanford White, the noted American architect, whose murder by Harry K. Thaw in 1906 was the subject of a sensational murder trial; Dr. Paul Dudley White, the eminent heart specialists; and Byron (Whizzer) White, the Supreme Court Justice appointed by John F Kennedy in 1962.