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Old 07-28-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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Does anyone have info about how english surnames arose? I'm going to assume that most of the ''british'' (today's england) under the roman occupation used Cognomen's however once the romans left for good in 410 A.D. (Goth crises in Italy) my understanding is that after several generations they only went by a first name associated with their trade or place location etc. e.g. William the Smith, John the Archer, Frederick of Forest etc. and so when and/or how did the surname arise in the british isles? If you want you can add Europe into the mix as well.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:24 AM
 
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A Brief History of Surnames
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Long Island
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Originally Posted by willow wind View Post
Thanks! Great information
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
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I read in my research that when the Romans took their first census they couldn't spell (or pronounce) the Celtic names so they just arbitrarily assigned a name, and often associated with the family trade as mentioned earlier.

Last edited by ArkansasSlim; 07-28-2013 at 03:48 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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Surname Database: Last Name Origins

When I used to be active on a Yorkshire, England genealogy mailing list this was discussed a lot. Just as that article said in the previous post --and for example, I remember one Yorkshire name, Ackroyd. It meant oak and rod/royd=a clearing or even a farm. Very old. That was one of the names based on location but there were others based on how the person looked or what he did for a living.

Often the meaning isn't apparent at first glance and you have to go back into Old English to get the translation.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Vernon, British Columbia
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Here's a better link for me (I don't have to go back 4 generations to find a match on this one): Behind the Name: the Etymology and History of Surnames
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:41 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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I read that surnames arose after the Norman Conquest. The population had grown to the point that they became necessary. Some people took the name of the town they lived in as a surname. My mother's maternal line had the name Frisby/Frisbye/Frisbee after the town Frisby-on-the-Wreake, in Leicestershire. Originally populated by Frisians.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Originally Posted by Six Foot Three View Post
Does anyone have info about how english surnames arose? I'm going to assume that most of the ''british'' (today's england) under the roman occupation used Cognomen's however once the romans left for good in 410 A.D. (Goth crises in Italy) my understanding is that after several generations they only went by a first name associated with their trade or place location etc. e.g. William the Smith, John the Archer, Frederick of Forest etc. and so when and/or how did the surname arise in the british isles? If you want you can add Europe into the mix as well.
English surnames arose in the same ways most surnames did - they are either patronymic or descriptive of a place, occupation or characteristic. Many are Anglo-Saxon (Old/Middle English) in origin. I don't think there is any defining moment when surnames came into consistent use - some members of royalty or the nobility may have been using them not long after the Norman Conquest (the Plantagenets, for example) but there are many examples of those who weren't. And many commoners did not necessarily adopt the practice for some centuries later either. It really depends on your individual family history.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:26 AM
 
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Thanks to everyone as much appreciated about the info and posted links .
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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Quoting the British Memorandum by the Lord Chancellor dated 7 April 1952, titled The Name Windsor
=========
Hereditary surnames, which were in origin usually nicknames or patronymics, only became common in this country and elsewhere in Europe about the 13th century. Royal Families, continuing the ancient practice of styling themselves by territorial names, did not acquire surnames

It may be said that member of two of our Royal Houses possessed surnames, and it is true that the Tudor and Stuart dynasties are known by those names, which were the surnames of their founders.
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In 12th and 13th century England, the ability to recite, in Latin, a particular passage from the Bible entitled a common law defendant to the so-called benefit of clergy, i.e. trial before an ecclesiastical court, where sentences were more lenient, instead of a secular one, where hanging was a likely sentence. Thus literate lay defendants often claimed the right to benefit of clergy, while an illiterate person who had memorized the psalm used as the literacy test, Psalm 51 ("O God, have mercy upon me..."), could also claim benefit of clergy.

Formal surnames, instead of just nicknames, would have become more highly developed as literacy spread.
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The abovememorandum finishes with the suggested wording that Queen Elizabeth proclaim. She used the recommended words:

I hereby declare My Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that My descendants, other than female descendants who marry and their descendants shall bear the name of Windsor.

At the time in 1952, since only Charles and Anne were born the presumption of male line non-royal descendants was very remote and far into the future. Even today, the son of the son of Prince Harry will not be royal, but that is not expected to happen for another 30-40 years.

By 1960 with the birth of Prince Andrew and Edward, there was a greater possibility of male line non-royal descendants born while Prince Phillip still was alive. If Princess Beatrice had been a boy, and this hypothetical prince was married and had a child in the next few years, Phillip would still be alive. By default the non-royal descendants bear the surname Windsor (as a surname and not a territorial designation). The Queen issued a new proclamation that such a child would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

As Prince Andrew had no sons, the next likely candidate would be the son of James (who is only age 5 today).

Last edited by PacoMartin; 07-30-2013 at 07:27 PM..
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