WHERE DO LAST NAMES COME FROM?
i was wondering where do last names came from...?
- Shirley TLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Cactus gave you a good answers. They began about the 12 or 13th century in England. Understand they started earlier in southern Europe.
There was a man named John that had 4 sons. Henry, George, Sam & Robert.
Henry, if he could write, signed his name Henry son of John as that is how he was known. He then became Henry Johnson but there were a lot of guys named John that had sons that became Johnson. Some became Johns or Jones.
George was known as George the Blacksmith and he became George Smith but so did a lot of people who shared his occupation.
Sam's name you hear frequently. He lived on a hill and became Sam Hill. The name Overton is in my maternal grandmother's family. It simply means over town. Can you imagine how many people lived over a town.
Some took the name of the town, castle, church etc. they lived close to. Having an ancestor that had the same name of a castle he lived close to does not mean he was necessarily related to the Lord of the Manor.
Robert was short and he was called Robert the Short, Therefore he became Robert Short but a lot of fellas were not too tall took the name Short.
So you can see 4 different men sharing the same Y chromosone from the same father took different surnames but the surnames they took were taken by others not necessarily related.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Back in the day, when we all just had first names and generations of families still lived in the same villiage, there needed to be a way to start 'describing' who we ment..
So, Harry, had a son named Thomas, and that became Thomas, Harry's son. Over time, it became shortened to Thomas Harrison.
Or, John - the guy that lived on top of the hill, became John Hillman.
Sometimes it was a trade that they did. George was a Tailor by trade, and so it went George Taylor....
Other ways would be location, physical descriptions, sex, or perhaps a like or dislike....sorta like Jonny Appleseed - he went around planting apple trees....
That is the simple and non complex way I understand it to be.
- 1 decade ago
Very often they refer to occupations. Coopers made barrels. Smiths were blacksmiths. Potters made pots and so on. They can also refer to the region where the family comes from. Then very often, when families came from Europe to America, they couldnt speak English and when they registered at places like Ellis Island, their names were taken down incorrectly. My family's name was misspelled from its French origin but m,y grandfather changed it back. Pax - C
- Anonymous1 decade ago
It varies from culture to culture. Often it comes from an ancestor's occupation, such as Smith or Cooper. Sometimes it denotes an ancestor's father, such as Johnson or Anderson, and often it indicates where your family is from, such as York or Berlin. In the US, where slaves often had only first names, last names were often either the name of their owner, or adopted from popular leaders such as Lincoln or Washington, and many of these names were passed down.
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- 1 decade ago
Surnames are generally derived from one of four sources: the name of the person's father (patronymic), the person's locality, the person's occupation, or a descriptive nickname for the person. When they were created, they answered one of the following questions: Who is this person's father? Where is this person from? What does this person do for a living? What is his or her most prominent feature?
- cheeeeerLv 41 decade ago
The occupation your ancestors had: for instance, the name Smith comes from blacksmith.
- SAMUEL ELILv 71 decade ago
From lots of places, and they have been around for a while.
they come from a family's place or origin (like Ireland, or Lombard), a physical characteristic (like Short, Tall), a personality characteristic (Friendly), a profession (Smith, Taylor), and many other things, including colors (Black, Brown, White), and on and on.
- Wounded DuckLv 71 decade ago
- itsjustmeLv 71 decade ago
From the occupations of our ancestors mainly, and other sources as well.