This unusual name is German in origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may derive from a nickname for a wise, just man, from the Old High German and modern German word 'rat, Rat', counsel, advice. Secondly, the name may derive from a short form of any of the various Germanic compound personal names with the first element 'rat', counsel, advice. The surname development in Germany includes Ratz (1575), Raetz (1642) and Rahtz (1675). Three families of the name 'Ratz', from the Tirol, Franconia and Bavaria, are recorded in Rietstap's 'Armorial General'. In London the name is first recorded in the late 18th Century: one Simon Peter Ratz was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on July 5th 1772. The marriage of Johann Raatz and Bertha Juliane Engelke was recorded on January 9th 1852 at Tempelburg, Pomerania. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maria Raatz (christening), which was dated December 12th 1597, Jagstkreis, Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 11, 'Holy Roman Emperor', 1576-1612. 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.