The English and Irish surname Waits is an occupational name for a watchman, derived from the Anglo-Norman French term waite. The first recorded spelling of the name is in 1221 when Roger le Wayte is registered in the "County Records of Suffolk (Ely)" Thomas Waite (1615 - 1688), was a colonel in the parliamentary army in 1643 during the English Civil War and M.P. for Rutland from 1646 - 1653. He was also one of the judges of Charles 1, and signatory to his death warrant in 1649, and was imprisoned in 1660 at the Restoration of Charles II. In Ireland the name Waits is found in the northern province of Ulster in counties Armagh and Down. A notable bearer of the name is the American poet and musician Tom Waits.
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