Shakespeare asking this age-old question, “what’s in a name?”, is something most people are familiar with. In a matter of speaking, however, there is more to a name than what people realize. Etymology is defining the meaning of a name, so most etymologists can agree, there is so much in a name. Parents often take the time to deliberate on a name for their children. Some will give a child name after someone of importance in their lives, other because of the meaning, and simply because they like the way it sounds or even how it looks on paper with deliberate spelling is the reason for a naming the child. When it comes to last names however, this is a different story. in many cultures, the males continue to pass down the name to the next generation traditionally, and the woman marrying into a family will take on their husband’s last name as the same culture tradition. In recent years, some men are opting to take their bride’s last name for their personal reasons. Today, we at Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings would like to share some basics to Etymology.
Why are Surnames So Important?
It took a few hundred years for the majority of Europeans to use last names throughout the continent, however, by the 12th century Europe, the use of last names had become more common. Since, particularly by the 13th century a 3rd of the population was named William, John, and Richard, the last name was used to give people more distinction. William son of Andrew, for example, is how the last names began. Last names, however, were not limited to recognizing the father, in fact surnames also evolved from location, personal characteristic, and occupation associations.
Where Do Surnames Originate From?
Surnames Based on Personal Characteristics. Playing a part in giving people more individualism was specific characteristics. An adapted surname may have been given due weight, height, or hair color for instance. An example is surname such as John with red hair become John Red. Many variations would filter depending on the language. Irish- Flynn, Italian- Rossi, English- Reid, French- Rousseau, Czech- Cerveny, and German- Roth are a few general examples. Surnames also developed from different translations of the characteristics deriving from personality like fast, slow, dumb, and smart. Some would assign people with animal characteristics they associate with. A good swimmer named William would become known as William Fish for instance.
Surnames Based on Occupations. Many people would take on a surname based on their occupation in the past centuries. Shepherd, Taylor, Fisher, or Baker are common surnames of Old English. The surname Smith was inherited to those that were blacksmiths or those that worked with metal. The surnames we use today were shaped by cultures, native languages, and arts of the world.
Surnames Based Locations. People would attach the “surname” based on where the individual lives or had lived in some areas of the world. There are several origins when it comes to using the place as a surname. John of York or more simply put John York would come from John born in New York, for example. For a surname, such as woods, brooks, fields, and so forth, some cultures in past centuries that would use landmarks.
Name Plaques Chainsaw Carvings & More in Las Vegas, Nevada, Helena, Montana & Nampa, Idaho
You can trace your bloodlines and learn the origins of your surname with many tools available today. The quest to discover the ancestors and the life they lead can b very exciting to many people. In the meantime, you can display your Surname proudly with a custom sign for your home. Call us today to order yours as Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings provides custom name signs!