At first glance this name should be as popular as Smith, in fact more so. However, truth being stranger than fiction, the name is quite rare, another of the oddities amongst the seventy thousand name spellings which make up the British-Irish name listings. It is probable that 'Cottage' is a Middle English development of the surname 'Cottam or Cottum' - forms of 'Aet Cotum' from the Olde English, dweller at the Cottages, the 'modern' 'cottage' spelling being an attempt to return to the supposed Olde English origin of the 7th Century A.D. The name development includes Mary Cottage, christened at St. Andrews, Holborn, London, on December 11th 1668, and the extraordinary spelling of Richard Kootadge, christened at the church of St. Dunstan's in the East, London, on July 15th 1677 in the reign of King Charles 11, 1660 - 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Cottige, which was dated July 25th 1568, Named Anys Corbe at St. Michael's Bassishaw, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.