- There are two possible origins for this name, the first is locational and derives from one of the places called Bly, Blyth, or Blythe in Lincoln, Northumberland, Stafford, Rutland, and Suffolk or it is a nickname from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'Blithe' meaning a gentle and friendly person. In a sense both meanings are the same as the placenames themselves all derive from the same 'blithe', and refer to a river of slow and gentle flow. The name recording and development includes Gilbert de Blie in the 1200 A.D. Rolls of Nottingham, Robert Blithe of Ely Abbey in Norfolk (1221) and John Blythe of Sussex found in the County Register of 1296. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Blithe, which was dated 1177, The County Pipe Rolls Registers of Essex, during the reign of King Henry II, The Church Builder, 1154 - 1189. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.