Family History: Do you have a Dorset surname?
, 2022-10-07 02:00:00,
Katie Heaton reveals how you can discover the meaning and history behind your last name, as well as some famous Dorset surnames and the connections between an Elizabethan spy, a Dorset dynasty and James Bond 007
Is it possible to discover the history behind your own surname? Today in Britain and Ireland there are 45,000 surnames. However, until the end of the 14th century most people in England were only known by a first name or nickname – they didn’t have a hereditary surname. This gradually changed after the Norman conquest of 1066 when, according to the BBC Family History website, Norman barons introduced surnames into England.
On the familytreemagazine.com website they suggest four main origins of a surname:
– Occupations (such as ‘Smith’ for a blacksmith)
– Nicknames or physical characteristics (such as ‘Short’)
– Places or landmarks (such as ‘Hill’)
– Patronymics, or father’s name (such as ‘Johnson’ son of John)
Hidden Meanings: There are several websites which can give you an idea about the meaning of your surname and its distribution, both today and historically. For example, Your Family History (your-family-history.com) allows you to search for a surname (the list is not exhaustive) and results comprise of a meaning, distribution around the UK according to census records and other statistics such as the top professions for people…
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