This rare name is of Medieval English origin and has two possible sources, the first being that it is a topographical name for either 'a dweller by a tree', probably a prominent landmark, or 'a dweller by a stream or low lying marshland'. However, it may also be a locational name from a so called 'lost' village, a phenomenon resulting generally from enforced land clearance in the 12th and 13th Centuries to create sheep pasture, or from more natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, war, etc. It is thought that the site of the 'lost' place was once in Wiltshire, due to the abundance of recordings in that county, and early recordings in neighbouring Somerset. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'att', meaning at the, with 'treo', a tree, or 'ea', a river. Jone Ettery married Robert Chamberlaine on January 31st 1655 at Bishop's Cannings, Wiltshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Etterie (witness), which was dated December 1st 1633, Bruton, Somerset, during the reign of King Charles 1, 'The Martyr', 1625-1649. 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.