What decent is the surname Little of?

My friend wants to know what her last name means

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I found this for you.

    Surname: Little

    Recorded in several spelings as shown below, this is one of the oldest of English surnames. Originally in ancient times it was a personal name of endearment as in "Little man," and even as a medieval nickname surname, probably did not describe a man of small stature, but the very opposite. This is proven to a large extent by the famous outlaw of Robin Hood fables "Little John," so called because he was a giant of a man. His long bow supposedly seven feet in length, was for many years was to be found at the famous Bolton Arms, at Bolton Abbey, in Wharfedale, Yorkshire. It is also claimed that word was used for the younger of two bearers of the same name, as in the modern and mainly American practice of using "junior" for a son with the same name as the father. Early examples of the surname taken from surviving registers include Lefstan Litle in Feudal Documents of the Danelaw at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in the county of Suffolk, whilst Thomas Lytle was recorded in Sussex in the Subsidy Tax rolls of 1296. John and Jane Little were early emigrants to the English colonies of the New World being recorded in the parish of Christchurch, Barbadoes, in 1678. Modern spellings of the surname include Little, Littell, Lytle and Lyttle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadric Little. This was dated 972, in the register of Old English Bynames, for the county of Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Edgar, 959 - 975 a.d. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

    Hope this helps.

  • Cristy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    You said you did the research...But did you research your ancestry, one generation at a time, or just the name? Researching the name is meaningless. If you had done the research, you would find that no doubt some of your ancestors in Africa held slaves. That's where the whole slavery business began: Africa. Not only that, it is one of their cheif industries today. Spaniards first attacked the Canary Islands, killing most of the natives. Neither they nor the Spaniards were blondes with blue eyes. Ask the elderly: names have meanings and have an effect upon the bearer. So, change if you like, but do the research carefully. Most likely your surname was adopted because someone admired it. Just as many adopted the surname Washington. American Indians have Engish, Irish, French, Spanish, and other, surnames. Not many people have surnames denoting their ancestry: how could they, when everyone is mixed?

  • 3 years ago

    Little Surname

  • Teresa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

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    There are many Puerto Rican families who have European ancestry, Before you accept the pedigree charts on ancestry you should check the documentation. Most of them have little or none, or worse have simply copied someones undocumented chart and up loaded it as their own. The original people of Puerto Rico were the Taino, The Spanish arrived and mixed with the native population which created the Misitzo. This population imported the Sub-Saharan Slaves. The next Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, followed in the 1840's by the Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Maltese, and Azoreans. In the 1930's and 40's Jews fled German occupied Europe to Puerto Rico and thousands of Cuban Jews left Cuba after Castro name to power. As a general rule, Slave Owners didn't place their names onto their slaves. In fact slaves on being freed frequently took the name of their last owner, or of something else, including foreign names, words and phrases that they didn't understand, but liked the sound of. If is of course your right to change your surname, if you choose, however,as a Genealogists I am not in favor of name changing. In your case It would be interesting to know what you plan on changing it to, as the family names of slaves have been basically lost and there religions that are in the area where slaves were sold by other tribes of Africans didn't exist at that time, so taking a Muslim name would seem inappropriate, unless you are Muslim or plan on conversion. I have recently been doing some research in Porto Rico for a client and the name Aponte didn't sound familiar, so I did some research on it. There is a rather famous French family named L'Aponte, or Laponte found in Porto Rico. The Italian name you are referring may be Ponte and I have not found that name in Porto Rican records, and there is no connection between the French and Italian Families. There is an interesting article online in Wikipedia about the Laponte family and their contribution to Porto Rica, you might want to read it and do some of your own direct research into your family. If you do be sure to document your sources. The European family has no concern about who "wears" the name, it is not that important to the French, especially because of the number of French surnames in Louisiana and most Europeans are also not as concerned about the history of slavery as people closer to the US are,

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  • 1 decade ago

    there is kind of an "apples and oranges" thing to your question.

    Until you get into it.. most people consider surname etymology and genealogy to be the same thing. Not at all.

    "Descent" would usually involve ancestry, or finding where YOU (as a person) comes from. YOU come from (1) your parents.. and mom is a Jones (insert your name) by marriage only. Every woman is traced by her birth name..not married name (but that is used for locating records in later life). Now, go to each grandparent, and remember, the women have birth names. By now, you have 4 last names to work, all different. Each generation backwards, you descend EQUALLY from all your ancestors. That is.. 8 gr grandparents, 16 gr gr grandparents.. so on.

    THAT is genealogy... ALWAYS working back from yourself, and really, it is not a surname issue. Contrary to popular thinking.. all persons with a same name are not going to be related.

    Now, to the origin (etymology) of a surname. Long ago, no one had last names..since they were not needed. They are an identifier..and came about when needed since the village had 4 men named John, and they had to have something to distinguish. Several sources were used.. sometimes physical attributes (the Little one, the Blond one); the occupation (John the Smith); relationships (John, the son of Thomas..Thomasson); or where they came from (John from London).

    If there was more than one (black)Smith, or whatever, it did not mean that they were related.

    The name Little PROBABLY came from exactly what it sounds like. It will not mean that there was only one Little man, and all persons with the name come from him.

    So.. origin of a name is WAY WAY in the past, and can vary. If it is an "English" name that does not make the person English now. For one thing.. names are NOT limited to just one country of origin. Sometimes, people even work back in their family to find a long forgotten adoption.. thus, John Schmidt (whose real parents maybe came from Germany) got adopted by the Little family when his parents died. His ancestry is German, from his birth lineage. His name is from another source.

    Just something to consider. If someone wants to know "descent", it involves all their ancestors, from today, back. Names don't really have all that much to do with it.

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