This interesting surname, with variant spellings Fodkin, Fatken, Fadken, etc, derives from the Old French "afaitie" meaning affected, skilful or prudent plus the hypocoristic suffix "-kin" (of Lower Germanic origin). The suffix "-kin" was used to form diminutive and was frequently used personal-names or bynames, sometimes to distinguish son from father, sometimes as pet-names. John and Jankin, William and Wilkin, are both used as names of the same man; hence "Fatkin" means "skilful one" or "son of the skilful one". One, Henry la Faitie, is noted in the Ancient Deeds of London (1189) and Thomas Fayte, appears in the History of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Essex, (1239). The surname is first recorded with the suffix in the 17th Century (see below). Recordings of the surname from the Durham church registers include; William, son of John Fatkin, who was christened on March 4th 1716, at Gateshead; on February 20th 1717, the marriage of John Fatkin to Elizabeth Smith took place in Boldon; Sarah, daughter of John Fatkin, was christened on June 26th 1717, at Gateshead and on September 20th 1724, Nathaniel, son of Thomas Fatkin, was christened at Chester le Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Fatkin, witness at christening, which was dated November 22nd 1668, Wolsingham, Durham, during the reign of King Charles 11, "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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.