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What Does My Surname Mean?

22 Answers

Nathaniel Hobby Profile
Nathaniel Hobby answered
The surname is a representative of the family name, which is passed down the male line from generation to generation. In terms of its historical significance, the usage of the surname is relatively new.  The convention was adopted in order to distinguish people who may have had the same first name. Initially this was not passed down the generations and was simply used as a function for distinguishing different people.

It is believed that the Chinese were amongst the first civilisations to adopt this convention of the use of hereditary surnames, which is thought to have been about 5,000 years ago. The use of the surname was not utilised in European culture until 10th and 11th Century, which stemmed from the historical city of Venice.  After this it became custom for members of the gentry and aristocracy to utilise this custom of the hereditary surname until it became a common tradition for everyone of all classes to pass on their surname.

Surnames were generally derived from one of four sources: Patronymic (which was sourced from the father’s name, their ancestral origin or place of birth, occupation or social status and nicknames that often revealed personal or physical traits. For instance if your surname is a patronymic derivative, then it will take the format of ‘Peters’ which is an English format, or similarly ‘Peterson’ which translates simply to ‘Son of Peter’ , which is Swedish.

Additionally, if you were Scottish then it would have started with ‘Mac’ or if you were Irish the name would have had an ‘O’ before it; both meaning ‘Son of’. If your name revealed a place or distinctive features of the locality then the surname would take the format of ‘Cliff’ which means steep hill or ‘KirkPatrick which represents the church (kirk) of St. Patrick. Furthermore if you were a Smith of a Cooper then this often denoted your occupation, Smith standing for a blacksmith and Copper representing a barrel maker. Finally, if you were an Armstrong or a Small, this probably would have represented physical features such as strong arms of body size.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
We all like to know what our surname means and it is possible to find out. Some surnames suggest what profession your family line might've been in such as Smith.

It's also interesting to find out your Mother's surname. This is known as the maiden name. The study of your ancestry is known as genealogy. It's always great to trace back your family's history and making a family tree is good place to start. This is a diagram which annotates your relatives and your relatives relatives on one easy to read tree.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
You can visit some of the links on this page, which are a bunch of sites where you can find the meaning of you're last name. Some of them you have to pay, but most are free.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Is it my imagination, or does no-one seemed to have yet answered the original question? We seem to have one in depth analysis of Hurley (fine if we're all called Hurley) and a host of people still in the dark. To reiterate... is there a site which gives the general meaning and origin of surnames?
jordan pritchard Profile
Type your name into google translate with the setting detect language
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I think they said, it's best to check out genealogy sites . Read carefully next time. Not like they can answer all 44 billion surnames out there is it....bit of common sense!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
We have attempted to find the meanings and origins of a handful of surnames, some of which have been easier than others. It is quite a difficult task to get a decent answer from places on the web about surname meanings, which is why you probably ended up here at BlurtIt!. As there are so many surname's out there - quite rightly billions - we will endeavour to try and get meanings for questions that come in, but cannot always help.

Many Thanks

The BlurtIt! Editor
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Here's an example for the name 'Hurley':

'The name Hurley has undergone many variations in the time that has passed since its genesis. In Gaelic it appeared as O hIarlatha, which is derived from the word iarflaith, which means underlord."

Spelling variations include: Herlihy, O'Herlihy, Herley, Herly, Hurley, O'Hurley, Murrily and many more.

First found in county Limerick where they held a family seat from ancient times.
Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Bartholomew Hearlihy settled in Philadelphia in 1857; Daniel Herlihey settled in Philadelphia in 1868; John Herlihy settled in Philadelphia in 1876; Jacob Herley settled in Philadelphia in 1753.'

Such information is easily extracted from geneology sites. To get yours why not have a browse and see if you can find the right site for your needs.

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