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Where does your family surname come from?

(25 Posts)
Whitewavemark2 Fri 15-May-20 08:18:49

An online dictionary of British and Irish surnamed is being made accessible to all.

Tap into the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland free of charge and find out where your name comes from.

I will go on and find out mine now.

Marmight Fri 15-May-20 08:24:59

Polite, courteous and well bred.
Got it in 1 (3) ?
Bit of a giveaway

Missfoodlove Fri 15-May-20 09:14:46

Could you provide a link please?

Callistemon Fri 15-May-20 09:58:55

Help, I think everyone is on there, I'm struggling to access it.

Alexa Fri 15-May-20 10:02:15

Surnames are:

a) describe some ancestor's appearance e.g. Campbell = crooked mouth. Kennedy=ugly head or big head.


b) trade e.g. Taylor=tailor. Telfer means blacksmith. Lorimer means harness maker. Smith=smith. Ray=king or servant or tenant of king. May be some ancestor who possessed a useful and expensive thing to do with their trade such as Bull.

c) where ancestor came from i.e. a place name including topographical names like Hill. Also may refer to an ancestor who belonged to a great estate or landowner like Earl.
Place name names were often given to ancestors by strangers in work places the ancestor had moved to to find work.

d) very common are names like Sanderson or Roberts which refer to an ancestor's parentage.

e) Fitz names refer to the illegitimate son of some important person who recognises the son but does not make him his heir.

f) Mac names refer to an ancestor who belonged to a clan as a relation or a servant or a tenant. There are Welsh and Irish equivalents.

g) names that date back to a foreigner and have become corrupted from the original.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 19-Nov-20 13:34:02

We don't know.

Someone once suggested to Grandpa that it meant a person who makes dry stone dykes.

Myself I suspect someone just couldn't spell and wrote a fairly common Mc name with a different letter after Mc than usual.

Or alternatively, swopped a for e in the last syllable.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 13:48:09

Mine is from the Romans. I know that much grin

Septimia Thu 19-Nov-20 14:04:45

Easy - maiden name is clearly a place name, and I can trace ancestors back to that area. Married name is a place name, too.

paddyanne Thu 19-Nov-20 14:24:24

My husbands 3x ggf came from Devon apparently anyone with his unusual surname all come from one small village even nowadays if you see it you can be sure they originate from there.I'm in contact with Australian s and Canadians with the name and they all go back to 5xggp's from the village .

annsixty Thu 19-Nov-20 14:25:38

Both my maiden name and my married surname are both of occupations and very humble ones.
I know my place.

biba70 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:31:06

Devon- Stoke Gabriel

biba70 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:31:33

and my maiden name- straight from Huguenot ancestors

timetogo2016 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:34:44

Mine originated from Scandonavia and family members move to America.
And ironically all the females were all house keepers as was i.

felice Thu 19-Nov-20 14:59:03

Maiden name French, married name a profession. Neither very common and always asked to spell them.
Funnily enough the French cannot pronounce the English version of my maiden surname, great fun with cold callers as I refuse to co-operate unless they do, hehe.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 15:35:41

Same as me Septimia, Maiden name is a place as is my married name.

Alegrias2 Thu 19-Nov-20 15:51:38

I missed the free access!

A few generations ago one branch of DH's family fell out with the rest of them and changed their name to an entirely made up word. There are only about 500 people in the world with our surname. And we're all related. smile

MiniMoon Thu 19-Nov-20 15:53:35

My maiden name is the Durham version of Richardson. My married name is Welsh, and very common.

Fennel Thu 19-Nov-20 16:04:40

My maiden name comes from a well known Danish Viking king.
I've always had an affinity with the sea, GGFs+ were masters of colliers trading in the Baltic and the Med.

FlexibleFriend Thu 19-Nov-20 17:14:54

My surname isn't listed but there are only 7 of us and we're all related.
My maiden name is locked and it wants me to subscribe to find anything out, I'm not that interested.

Katek Thu 19-Nov-20 18:02:05

Maiden name is a clan name and married name is southern German. There are only 6 or so of us and we’re all related.

Bathshe Thu 19-Nov-20 18:04:44

I have one of the most boring surnames known to man. And woman.

No idea where it came from

I wish it had stayed there

TerriBull Thu 19-Nov-20 19:16:05

My maiden name is found in both Sicily and Malta. My paternal grandfather grew up in Malta speaking Italian. Researching my surname it's far more common in the US and Australia than here stronger patterns of immigration to those places. My mother's maiden name was French. The French side of my grandfather's paternal family came from both La Rochelle and Alsace. Her French surname is also very prevalent in the southern states of America. My mother also had an Irish grandmother from Limerick, anyone who has Irish ancestors, most of us grin know that because the IRA blew up the central records office, it's quite hard to get information about Irish family namessad Not so with the English side of her family who were in and around villages in Kent, the surnames I have for them go back several centuries, they're all pretty bog standard English surnames, like Townsend, a name I imagine which is pretty self explanatory! My paternal grandmother's English side came from North Devon. I've found loads of names on that line, as the church records go back almost pre Reformation. When I first started on my genealogy quest there was a site, possibly on Ancestry, which showed geographical clusters of particular surnames. Although I always remember reading that the prevalence of Scandinavian names, such as Anderson are far more likely to be in the north of England and Scotland.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 19:23:28

The family name is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Well it would be, wouldn't it ? grin Very interesting though.

kircubbin2000 Thu 19-Nov-20 19:29:12

How does this work without signing up?

GagaJo Thu 19-Nov-20 21:07:16

My family surname is as widespread as Smith, in the county I come from, but uncommon anywhere else. We have a crest too.

I suspect, however, a bit like the Derbyvilles in Thomas Hardy's 'Tess', that my branch of the family were the peasant farmers.