UK surnames and their origins


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Understanding people's surnames and the origins of those names

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UK surnames and their origins

  1. 1. Where do you come from? BMDBMD Surnames
  2. 2. What’s in a Name? <ul><li>In England alone there are around 45,000 different surnames, each with a history behind it. </li></ul><ul><li>The sources from which names are derived are almost endless: nicknames, physical attributes, counties, trades, heraldic charges, and almost every object known to mankind. Tracing a family tree in practice involves looking at lists of these names - this is how we recognise our ancestors when we find them. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why? <ul><li>When communities were small each person was identifiable by a single name, but as the population increased, it gradually became necessary to identify people further - leading to names such as John the butcher, William the short, Henry from Sutton, Mary of the wood, Roger son of Richard. Over time many names became corrupted and their original meaning is now not easily seen. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Local Names <ul><li>25% of English surnames are derived from particular places </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Barnsley Yorkshire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pickering Yorkshire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lancaster, Lancashire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chester, Cheshire </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Natural Names <ul><li>Derived from features of the landscape, and indicate where a family lived in a parish </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood, Brook, Green, Townend, Hill, Atwood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bywater, Underwood, Bridge, Marsh </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sometimes different words for the same feature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood = Shaw, Hirst, Firth, Holt </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Defined by Work <ul><li>At the time of surname formation the most common occupational surnames became hereditary: Smith, Wright, Tailor, Turner, Bowyer, Baker, Butcher, Sawyer, </li></ul><ul><li>Most villages had one craftsman pursuing each trade </li></ul><ul><li>Some trades are now obscure, e.g. Palliser, Frobisher </li></ul>
  7. 7. Defined by Work <ul><li>Sometimes the surname relates to a position, rather than a craft/skill </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sheriff, Constable, Priest, Deacon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The use of dialect words for the same craft produces distinct regional patterns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuller </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tucker in the southwest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Walker in the north </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bowker in south-eastern Lancashire </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Defined by Work <ul><li>Sometimes a nickname becomes a surname </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prince </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bishop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>King </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Often that person was working for one of the above, not holding the position himself </li></ul>
  9. 9. Surnames of Relationship <ul><li>Some surnames derived from the father’s first name, e.g. John, Richard </li></ul><ul><li>Most took –son added to the father’s first name, e.g. Johnson, Richardson or –s added, e.g. Johns / Jones, Richards </li></ul><ul><li>Some OE / Viking personal names survive the Norman conquest, e.g. Oddy, Gummer </li></ul>
  10. 10. Like father, like son <ul><li>The son of William could become </li></ul><ul><li>Williams </li></ul><ul><li>Williamson </li></ul><ul><li>Wills </li></ul><ul><li>Wilson </li></ul><ul><li>Wilkins </li></ul><ul><li>Wilkinson </li></ul><ul><li>Wilkes or Wilcocks/Wilcox </li></ul>
  11. 11. Surnames of Relationship <ul><li>The Normans had a limited range of personal names, so pet forms became common, often with the addition of –kin, -cock, -et, -ot, -mot, -on, and –in </li></ul><ul><li>Hodgkin </li></ul><ul><li>Willmot </li></ul><ul><li>Wilcocks/cox </li></ul><ul><li>Willets </li></ul>
  12. 12. Terms of Endearment <ul><li>Nicknames, based upon personal characteristics, becoming surnames </li></ul><ul><li>Animals: Fox, Sparrow, Finch </li></ul><ul><li>Colours: Grey, White, Black, Brown, Pink, Green, Violet </li></ul><ul><li>Physical: Short, Broad, Long </li></ul><ul><li>Personality: Pennyfather, Proudfoot, Bellamy </li></ul>
  13. 13. Strangers <ul><li>Strangers were often identified by their place of origin or race </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornwall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>London </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lombard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fleming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Breton </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dennis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Norman </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Names have changed <ul><li>Most people were not literate until the late 19 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Surnames spelt in various ways by e.g. different parish clerks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Shepherd to Sheppard </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Names have also changed as pronunciation has changed </li></ul>
  15. 15. Most common surnames of English Origin <ul><li>Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Taylor </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson </li></ul><ul><li>Walker </li></ul><ul><li>Wright </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson </li></ul><ul><li>Robinson </li></ul><ul><li>White </li></ul><ul><li>Green </li></ul><ul><li>Hall </li></ul><ul><li>Wood </li></ul><ul><li>Harris </li></ul><ul><li>Martin </li></ul><ul><li>Jackson </li></ul><ul><li>Clarke </li></ul><ul><li>Clarke </li></ul><ul><li>Turner </li></ul><ul><li>Hill </li></ul><ul><li>Cooper </li></ul>
  16. 16. Welsh Surnames <ul><li>Hereditary surnames not generally used in the Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, the Welsh added an “ab” or “ap” (son of) to personal names, followed by a contraction: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ab Owain / Owen to Bowen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ab Evan to Bevan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ap Rhys to Preece, Price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ap Hugh (Hywel) to Pugh </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Welsh Surnames <ul><li>Later many Welsh families adopted English surname practices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eg Evans </li></ul></ul><ul><li>or repetition of first name as a surname </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Owen </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Most common surnames of Welsh Origin <ul><li>Jones </li></ul><ul><li>Williams </li></ul><ul><li>Davies </li></ul><ul><li>Evans </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas </li></ul><ul><li>Roberts </li></ul><ul><li>Hughes </li></ul><ul><li>Edwards </li></ul><ul><li>Lewis </li></ul><ul><li>Morris </li></ul><ul><li>Morgan </li></ul><ul><li>James </li></ul><ul><li>Phillips </li></ul><ul><li>Price </li></ul><ul><li>Griffiths </li></ul><ul><li>Richards </li></ul><ul><li>Ellis </li></ul><ul><li>Powell </li></ul><ul><li>Owen </li></ul><ul><li>Lloyd </li></ul>
  19. 19. Scottish Surnames <ul><li>Scottish surnames divide themselves into two classes, Highland, and Lowland. </li></ul><ul><li>In a very few instances they were assumed before the eleventh century, and indeed by far the larger proportion, since the thirteenth century </li></ul>
  20. 20. Lowland Scottish Surnames <ul><li>Lowland surnames having been adopted mainly through Norman influence, are most frequently local, such as Carmichael, Ridell, Rutherford; but many are derived from baptismal names, as Dickson, Henderson, Syme; from peculiarities, as Armstrong, Brown, Douglas; from armorial bearings, as Foulis, Heron, Lillie; from office, occupation, and trade, as Baillie, Hunter, Lorimer. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Lowland Scottish Surnames <ul><li>More examples include; derived from localities, as Maxwell, Nisbet, Ralston; baptismal names, as Anderson, Bennett, Lawrence; trades, as Baxter, Fletcher, Nasmyth; offices, as Bannerman, Grieve, Walker; professions, as Clerk, Freer, Kemp; peculiarities of body and mind, as Fairfax, Laing, May; armorial bearings, as Cross, Heart, Horn; nativity, as Fleming, Inglis, Scott; and from many other sources. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Highland Scottish Surnames <ul><li>Highland surnames are chiefly patronymics, with various prefixes and additions, as Farquhar, Mackenzie, Robertson ; but there are some exceptions, a few being derived from localities, as Lennox, Murray, Boss; a good number from peculiarities, as Cameron, Campbell, Grant; and some from armorial bearings, and offices, as Frazer, Skene, Stewart. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Most common surnames of Scottish Origin <ul><li>Wilson </li></ul><ul><li>Scott </li></ul><ul><li>Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>Simpson </li></ul><ul><li>Stewart </li></ul><ul><li>Robertson </li></ul><ul><li>Murray </li></ul><ul><li>Graham </li></ul><ul><li>Gibson </li></ul><ul><li>Thomson </li></ul><ul><li>Reid </li></ul><ul><li>Henderson </li></ul><ul><li>Grant </li></ul><ul><li>Ross </li></ul><ul><li>McDonald </li></ul><ul><li>Hamilton </li></ul><ul><li>Johnston </li></ul><ul><li>Kennedy </li></ul><ul><li>Davidson </li></ul><ul><li>MacDonald </li></ul>
  24. 24. Most common surnames of Irish Origin <ul><li>Kelly </li></ul><ul><li>Murphy </li></ul><ul><li>O’Brien </li></ul><ul><li>Ryan </li></ul><ul><li>O’Neill </li></ul><ul><li>Byrne </li></ul><ul><li>McCarthy </li></ul><ul><li>Burke </li></ul><ul><li>Quinn </li></ul><ul><li>Doyle </li></ul><ul><li>O’Connor </li></ul><ul><li>Lynch </li></ul><ul><li>Gallagher </li></ul><ul><li>Sullivan </li></ul><ul><li>Carroll </li></ul><ul><li>Duffy </li></ul><ul><li>Boyle </li></ul><ul><li>Farrell </li></ul><ul><li>Brennan </li></ul><ul><li>Flynn </li></ul>
  25. 25. Guild of One-Name Studies <ul><li>The world's leading organisation for one-name studies </li></ul><ul><li>A one-name study is a project researching facts about a surname and all the people who have held it, as opposed to a particular pedigree </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, over 2,300 people have registered nearly 7,850 study surnames with GOONS. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Pettit <ul><li>Definition: From the Old French for &quot;small,&quot; the Petit surname was often bestowed upon an individual of small stature. </li></ul><ul><li>Surname Origin: French </li></ul><ul><li>Alternate Surname Spellings: PETTIT, PETET, PETTET </li></ul>
  27. 27. Riley <ul><li>This surname can be either English or Irish. It is found in both countries in several spellings including Riley, Ryley, Reily, Reely and Reilly, as well as the pure Gaelic McReilly, O'Reilly and O'Ralilly. </li></ul><ul><li>In England the surname is usually locational, iIn Ireland from the pre 10th century Gaelic O'Raghailligh, meaning the descendant of Raghallach </li></ul>
  28. 28. Embling <ul><li>This surname is a variant of Emmett, which is of early medieval English origin, and is a Middle English diminutive of the female given name &quot;Emma&quot;. Introduced by the Normans, the modern surname can be found as Emmett, Emmott, Emmitt, Emmatt, Hemmett, Emeline, Emblin(g) and Emblem. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Ecclestone <ul><li>This name is of English locational origin from any of the various places so called in Cheshire and Lancashire which get their name from an ancient British word meaning &quot;church&quot; reflected in the Welsh &quot;eglwys&quot;, plus the old English &quot;tun&quot;, an enclosure or settlement. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Goodwin <ul><li>This Anglo-Saxon name is derived from the personal name &quot;Godwine&quot;, composed of the elements &quot;god&quot;, meaning either &quot;god&quot; or &quot;good&quot;, with the second element of &quot;wine&quot;, meaning friend or protector or &quot;sweyn&quot;, meaning &quot;follower of“. It is recorded in various forms including Godwin, Goodwin, Goodswin, and the Norfolk and East Anglian Godswen, </li></ul>
  31. 31. Dawson <ul><li>This surname is of English origins. It has twenty-two coats of arms, and is a patronymic form of the medieval male given name Daw. This is a nickname form of David, adopted from the Hebrew male given name Dodavehu meaning &quot;beloved of Jehovah&quot;. In Britain the popularity of the name was increased by the fame of St. David, the patron saint of Wales, and by the fact that it was borne by two kings of Scotland, </li></ul>
  32. 32. Barker <ul><li>Definition: 1) A tanner of leather, derived from Middle English &quot;bark,&quot; meaning to tan 2) From the Old French &quot;berquier, berchier, bercher, berkier, berker,&quot; meaning shepherd. 3) A variant of the German surname Berger, used to describe a man who lived on or by a hill or mountain, from the Old High German &quot;berg,&quot; meaning mountain. </li></ul><ul><li>Surname Origin: English, French, German </li></ul><ul><li>Alternate Surname Spellings: BERKER, BERCHER, BERGER, BERGEY, LE BARKERE, BARKE, BARKA, BARKAR </li></ul>
  33. 33. Crouch <ul><li>English, of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived by a cross. The derivation of the name is from the Middle English &quot;crouch&quot;, a cross, itself from the Old English pre 7th Century &quot;cruc&quot;. This word was replaced in Middle English by the Old Norse form &quot;cross&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>Dutch: from Middle Dutch croech ‘jug’, ‘pitcher’, hence an occupational name for a potter. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Malyon <ul><li>This rare and unusual surname is a dialectal variant of the medieval personal name &quot;Marion&quot;, a diminutive of the given name Mary, itself coming from the Latin &quot;Maria&quot;, from &quot;mar&quot; meaning drop, plus &quot;yam&quot;, sea. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Malyon, which was dated 1351 - 1354, in the &quot;Personal Names of Essex&quot; </li></ul>
  35. 35. Pashley <ul><li>Habitational name from Pashley in the parish of Ticehurst, Sussex, named with an unattested Old English personal name Pæcca or Pacca + Old English leah ‘wood’, ‘clearing’. A district of Eastbourne, Sussex, bearing this name derives it from the surname; a family called Pashley had moved there from Ticehurst by the later part of the 13th century. </li></ul><ul><li>The surname now occurs chiefly in southern Yorkshire. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Where do you come from? Surnames