Family History: basics and Individuals of Historical Interest
Please keep in mind: Until the 17th Century, surnames were only common with aristocracy. Even then, most used tiles and/or had nicknames given to them by many sources.
Family Surname origins A-C:
One source says from the German Are or Ahre, honor, faithful to his honor. An ancient Welsh family. The English line is descended from Ynir, King of Gwentland 1100.
The name Arnold was adopted by Roger in the twelfth generation from Ynir. Descended from Systyl ap Dyfnwall, through Vychan Arnholt ap Arnholt circa 1420, and Sybil (daughter of Madocap ap Eion ap Thomas circa 1390), Roger Arnold of Llanthony married Lady Joan GAMAGE (daughter of Sir Thomas de Gamage, Lord of Coytey) around 1467. Their son Thomas and Lady Agnes WARNSTEAD founded the Arnold Lord's of Bagber, Dorset, England.
Arnold is an English patronymic name from a Norman given name comprised of the Germanic elements arn = eagle + wald = rule. Occasionally it is derived as a place name to describe the man from any of the so-named locations in England and derived from Old English earn = eagle + halh = nook, hollow. Variations are Arnhold, Arnould, Arnout, Arnoil, Arnald, Arnaud, Arnall, Arnell, Arnull, Arnott, Arnatt, Arnull, Harnott, Harnett, Hornet, Hornett . Numerous cognate and Diminutive forms also exist.
Ayala: Dona Sancha DeAyala
The Ballentines (several spellings including Balantyne, Ballantine, etc.) were from Madison County, Iowa and Newport, Washington County, OH. They were closely associated wiht the Kimberlys and Tomlinsons in Cumberland, Maryland circa 1775, and later in Allegany, MD.
Bauer is a German status name for a peasant or a nickname for the "neighbor, fellow citizen." Baumann is a variation of the German and Jewish nickname Bauer, which meant 'neighbor' or 'fellow citizen.' It was derive from German bauer, from bur = occupant of a small dwelling. Pauer, Gebuhr, Bauman are other variations. Cognates are Burmann, Bur, Buhrmann, Burmann, Bouwer (Low German); Boerma, Boersma, Bouman (Frisian); De Boer, Boere, Boerman, Bouwer, Bouwman, Bouwmeester, (Dutch); Bohr (Danish); Por (Hungarian).
Bouganvilla, Louis Antoine
BYRD / BIRD / BORT
Blount/Blunt: English descriptive name...derived from the Old French word blund -- which meant 'blond, or yellow-haired.’
English: nickname from the Norman term of address beu sire ‘fine sir’, given either to a fine gentleman (perhaps ironically), or to someone who made frequent use of this term of address. Compare Bonser.Americanized spelling of German. Bauser.Bauser is South German: nickname for a heavy drinker and eater or spendthrift, from an agent derivative of Middle High German buzen ‘to feast’.
Bucklin: Variant of either English Buckland or Butlin, a nickname from Old French boute-vilain ‘hustle or beat the churl’, presumably denoting a severe or bullying master.
Byers is an English and Scottish place name for the man who lived by a cattleshed, from Old English byre = cattleshed, or as a place name for the man who hailed from a so-named location such as Byers Green (County Durham), or Byers (near Edinburgh). Byres, Biers are variations.
The Capitos came from Alsace to Berlin, Prussia and then to Franklin, Rockingham County, VA in about 1775. Italian (also Capitò): from a reduced form of the medieval Greek personal name Agapitos meaning ‘dear’, ‘beloved’.German: Latinized form of Haupt or Kopf ‘head’.
Carl is a variation of Charles, a French, Welsh and English surname, from the Germanic given name Carl = man. Carlson is a patronymic version denoting the "son of Carl." Karl , the German cognate form, was not in use as a given name during the Middle Ages, and is rare or unknown as a German surname since it was restricted to nobility. English variations of Charles are Karl, Karle, Carle, Carl . French forms are Charle, Charlon, Carle, Chasles, Chasle . Cognate forms are Carlo, Caroli, Carlesi, Carlisi, Carlesso (Italian); Carlos (Spain); Carles (Catalan); Kerl, Kehrl, Keerl (Low German); Karl (Jewish Ashkenazic); Karel, Kares (Czech); Karoly, Karolyi (Hungarian). Patronymic forms include Charleston (t-added); McCarlish (Scottish); De Carlo, De Carli, Di Carlo, De Carolis (Italian); Carlens (Flemish/Dutch); Karlsen, Carlsen (Norwegian); Karlsson, Carlsson (Swedish); Karlowicz, Karolak, Karolczak (Polish).
Castellana is an Italian cognate of the English (derived from the Normans) name Castellan, the occupational name for the governor or constable of the castle, or the prison warden. It is taken from Anglo-Norman-French castelain > Latin castellanus. Castellain, Castelein, Castling, Chatelain are variations of Castellan. Cognates include Chastel, Chastelain, Catelain, Castelain (French); Castelan, Castelin (Provencal); Castellani, Castellano (Italian); Castella (Catalan); Castelhano, Castelao (Portugal); Casteleyn, Castelijn (Flemish, Dutch).
Chamberlin: is a variation of Chamberlain, an English Occupational name that originally was the job held by the one who was in charge of the private chambers of the master of the house, and later was a title of high rank. Variations include Chamberlaine, Chamberlayne, Chamberlen, and Champerlen.
Chenoweth Name Meaning Cornish: topographic name from the elements chy ‘house’ + noweth ‘new’.
During the Middle Ages, the common pronunciation of -er was -ar, so the man who sold items was the marchant, and the man who kept the books was the Clark. Clerc was the origin, and designated a member of the clergy, hence cleric. At the time, the primary members of the literate class were the clergy, which in minor orders were allow to marry and have families. The term clerk came to designate any literate man. Clarke, Clerk, Clerke are variations. Cognates include Cler, Clercq, Leclerc, Leclercq, Lecler, Leclert, Leclair, Cloarec, Cloerec (French); Clergue (Provencal); Chierici, Clerici, Chierego (Italian); Clerc, De Clerck, De Clercq, De Klerk (Flemish, Dutch). Diminutive forms also exist in several languages.
Clan Clerich, or Clark, was one of the old 17 tribes of Clan Chattan. Ulva was the original home of Clan MacQuarrie. In about 1850 Francis William Clark, an Argyll landowner, built an impressive modern seat on the island, near the abandoned house of the 16th Chief.
Crews is a patronymic form of the English place name Crew, from Crewe in Cheshire, which derived its name from Old Welsh criu = weir, ford. It was in reference to a wicker fence that was erected across the river Dee to catch fish. The man who removed from Crewe to another location was usually referenced by his place of origin by his new neighbors.
Crouse is a variation of the name Cruise, an English nickname derived from Middle English crouse = bold, fierce. Cruse, Crewes, Crews, Cruwys are variations.
Curtis: The Reuben Emerson CURTIS Genealogy
Collins/Cole/Coles: English Patronymic Name...Nicholas was an extremely popular name in early times -- in the 4th century, Nicholas was the patron saint of children. Many names were derived from Nicholas, such as Nichols, Nickles, Nickleson, McNichols. Collins derived from the ending of Nicholas.
Coleman is an English and Scottish patronymic name from the Old Irish given name Colman, from Columbun (from Latin Columba = dove). The Irish missionary to Europe, St. Columban (540-615) made the name popular. The name is sometimes derived as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic O Clumbhain (descendant of Clumhan). As an occupational name, Coleman was the man who gathered charcoal, from Old English col = coal + mann = man -- and somewhat rarely, the name for the personal servant of the man named Cole.
Family Surname origins D-J:
Earhart is an Americanized version of Erhart and Erhardt, the German patronymic name from the elements era = honor + hard = brave. The name has also been known to be adopted by Ashkenazic Jews. Erard is the French version. This definition was originally missing over the Bermuda Triangle, but someone name Amelia kindly returned it.
Edgar is an English Patronymic name from the Old English given name Eadgar, composed of the elements ead = prosperity, fortune + gar = spear. Variations are Eagar, Eagger, Egar, Egarr, Eger, Edger, Adger, Agar, Ager, Adair, Odgar, and Ogier. (AElfweald "elf rule.")
Edwards: is an English Patronymic name from the Middle English given name Edward from the Old English eadward, derived from ead =prosperity + weard =guard.
Eggebrecht, from the given name comprised of the elements agil = edge, point (sword) + behrt = bright, famous. Eggert and Egbert are Low German cognates. Ebbrecht, Ebrecht, Ehebrecht, Eckerecht, Eckbrett, Ehlebracht, and Eilebrecht are variations.
Ferguson: a Scottish patronymic name, derived from the Scottish and Irish surname Fergus, from the Gaelic given name Fearghus. The Gaelic elements fear = man + gus = vigor, force are the elements of Fearghus. Variations are Ferris, Farris, Fergie (diminutive), Ferguson, Fergyson (patronymics). Many of the Irish versions are preceded by the O' -- which meant descendant of Fearghus. Alternate spellings: Fargarson, Fargason, Fergusin, Fergusson, Forgason, Forguson, Furgeson, Furgison, Furguson.
Foley: (southern) reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Foghladha ‘descendant of Foghlaidh’, a byname meaning ‘pirate’, ‘marauder’.(northern) Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Searraigh (see McSharry), chosen because of its phonetic approximation to English foal.
Fulkerson: Volkertson, Jacobus
Geise is a form of the name Gilbert, an English, French (Norman), and Low German given name from Gislebert, which was a Norman given name derived from the Germanic elements gisil = hostage, noble youth + berht = bright, famous. St. Gilbert of Sempringham (1085-1189) was responsible for making it a popular name during the Middle Ages. Geiselbrecht is the German cognate form and Geise is a diminutive version. Other cognates, diminutives, and patronymic forms also exist.
Giesbrecht is a Low German (German lowlands) cognate of the English surname Gilbert, which was Gislebert in Germany. And was an extremely popular name during the Middle Ages. Other Low German versions are Geiselbrecht, Gelbrecht, Gilbrecht, Gilbracht. Geoffrey Gilbert who died in 1349 was a representative in English Parliament in 1326, and it likely Giesbrecht as a cognate would have been in existance around that same time.
Green, when derived from an Irish context, is a translation of several Gaelic surnames originating from uaithne = green, and glas = grey, green, blue: O hUaithnigh was the surname that became Hooney, and glas became Glass. When an English surname, it is derived from the color as a Nickname or the man who liked to wear green, who played the "Green Man" in the May Day celebration, or who lived near the village green.
Variant of Green: Verdon, The French form of the name is Verdu/Verdun. In Catalan it was called Verdu (accent over the -u). The name can also be a French form of the Italian name Verde, from the Italian word verde = green. It is presumed to have been a nickname for someone who always dressed in green. The diminutive form of the French version was often Verdon. Variations of Verde are Verdi, Virde, Virdi, Lo Verde. French forms of Verde are Vert, Vert, Ver, Levert. Other diminutive forms of the name (as in Little Green, Greenie, Greenette, etc.) are Verdelli, Verdini, Verdicchio, (all Italian); Verdel, Verdelet, Verdet, Verdon, Verdonnet (French).
Hawk: from Middle English hauek ‘hawk’, applied as a metonymic occupational name for a hawker (see Hawker), a name denoting a tenant who held land in return for providing hawks for his lord, or a nickname for someone supposedly resembling a hawk. There was an Old English personal name (originally a byname) H(e)afoc ‘hawk’, which persisted into the early Middle English period as a personal name and may therefore also be a source.topographic name for someone who lived in an isolated nook, from Middle English halke (derived from Old English halh + the diminutive suffix -oc), or a habitational name from some minor place named with this word, such as Halke in Sheldwich, Kent.
Hawkins is a patronymic form of the English surname Hawkin, from the given name Hawkin, which was a diminutive form of Hawk. Hawking and Hawken are variations.
Higgs is a variation of the English surname Hick, from the medieval given name Hicke, which was a pet form of the name Richard. The Norman pronunciation of the R gave the English trouble, so they wound up placing an H as substitution in the cases of several Norman-based given names (Hobb for Rob, etc.) Hitch, Ick, Icke are variations. Diminutive forms include Hicking, Hickin, Hicken, Hicklin, Higgett, Higgitt, Higgon, Hitching, Hitchin, Hitcheon, Hitchcock, Hedgecock, Hitchcott, Hedgecote, Hitchcoe, Hickock, Hiscock, Hiscoke, Hiscott, Hiscutt, Hiskitt. Hickes, Hicks, Higgs, Hutches, Ickes, Hickeson, Hixon, Hitchisson are patronymic forms.
Houk Name Meaning Dutch (de Houk): variant of Houck 1, with the definite article, de.
James is an English patronymic name derived from Hebrew Yaakov > Latin Jacobus > Late Latin Jacmus -- and believed originating in the Hebrew term akev = heel. A biblical story contains the mention of a heel in the birth of Jacob. In English, Jacob and James are distinctly separate names, but throughout the rest of the world, the two are considered the same name in cognate form. Cognates of James are Jacqueme (French); Jayume, Jaulmes, Jaume, Jaumes (Provencal); Giacomo, Giamo, Giacomi, Iacomo, Iacomi, Como, Comi, Cumo (Italian); Jaime (Spanish); Juame (Catalan). There are dozens of diminutive forms of James. Patronymic forms include Jameson, Jamisom, Jamieson, Jemison, Jimpson, Jimson, Gemson, Gimson (English); McKeamish, McJames, (Scot); Di Giacomo (Italian); Jaimez (Spanish).
Johnson: English Patronymic Name:One of the earliest first names was John (gift of God), which in the 17th century replaced William as the most popular name for a male. As a patronymic name, Johnson from England and Scandinavia became the most widely found name in America, and its Welsh version Jones the fifth-most prolific.
Family Surname origins L-Z:
Lindsey is a spelling variation of Lindsay, an English and Scottish Place name from Lindsey in Lincolnshire, first found in the form Lindissi, a derivative of the British name Lincoln. The Old English element eg =island was added since the area was virtually cut off from the surrounding fenland. Lincey and Linsey are other variations.
Lorimeir, Major Louis
Marshall: originally cared for the lord's horses, and acted as an early vet and farrier. Later on, the term evolved to describe an official in a noble's household in charge of the military affairs. It's an English Occupational name, either way.
Moon: Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Mocháin (see Mohan).English (of Norman origin): habitational name from Moyon in La Manche, named from the Gallo-Roman personal name Modius (from Latin modus ‘measure’) + the locative suffix -o (genitive -onis).English: nickname from Anglo-Norman French moun ‘monk’ (see Monk).Cornish: nickname for a slender person, from Cornish mon ‘thin’.Korean: variant of Mun.
Welsh: from the Old Welsh personal name Morcant, which is of uncertain but ancient etymology.Irish: importation of the Welsh surname, to which has been assimilated more than one Gaelic surname, notably Ó Muireagáin (see Merrigan).Scottish: of uncertain origin; probably from a Gaelic personal name cognate with Welsh Morcant.
Ready/Reed: Scottish Patronymic Name...of the Scotsman Reedie in Angus. Also, in some cases, a Descriptive English name, as in -- always ready. Sometimes, meaning the descendent of Little Read (red), the nickname for a redhead, or the pet form of Redmond "counsel, protection." Requested by: Kathleen Cocuzzo.
Redman is polygenetic, derived independantly from surnames Read and Roth. When arriving from the former it originates from the Old English read = red and designated the man with the red hair or ruddy complexion. The softening of the -E- sound in OE read to modern English red is not well-explained. Variations of Read are Reade, Reed, Redd, Reid, Redman, Readman, Ride, Ryde, and Ryder. Roth is the German Nickname and Jewish Assumed Ornamental Name for the person with red hair, derived from German rot = red. Variants are Rothe, Rother, and the Jewish variations are Roter, Roiter, Royter, among others.
Risenbatt: trail of our ancestors
German: habitational name from any of various places called Steinbeck or Steinbach.South German: ocupational name for a mason.
Sweet: Swett is a variation of Sweet, an English Nickname for a popular person, derived from Old English swete. Given names Swet(a) -- masculine, and Swete -- feminine, were derived from this word, and survived into the early Middle Ages, and may be the source of the surname. Swett isn't the only variant: Swetman, Sweetman, Sweatman, and Swatman are among the English varieties. There are cognative versions many countries including Sussman (German), DeZoete (Flemish), and Susser (Jewish).
Tilston, Descendants of Richard de Tilston
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