This is a Flemish or Dutch variant of the surname "White" which exists in literally hundreds of forms around the world, in Europe especially and in the native language of each country then usually translated to "White" if the holder lives in an English speaking country. As a surname it is an example of the common medieval practice of creating a surname from a nickname in this case one that was used of a person with very fair or white hair, or who had a very pale complexion. Occasionally the surname can be from the Old English pre 7th century personal name "Hwita". There were many Flemish emigrants to England during the 14th and late 16th and 17th centuries, reflected in the recording of the marriage of one Guibert De Witt to Katharine Chaplain, at St. Katherine-by-the Tower, 1686. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Dewit. which was dated Christened 7th May 1564, in St. Margaret's, Lothbury, London. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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.