Sunday, April 5, 2015

Discover Your Ancestors

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If you are living in the USA, you might have a surname passed down from ancestors in England.  Until after the Norman conquest in 1066 surnames were not used, but as the country’s population grew, it became necessary to distinct people from each other.  Several types of surnames evaluated into our modern names. 
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From a Place or an Area

It could be drawn from a place where a person was born, has lived, worked, rented or owned land. It could be from the name of a house, farm, hamlet, town, or county, e.g. Bedford, Hampshire, Sutton. 
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Occupation

Occupational names identified people based on their position in society, such as Archer, Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Carter, Cooper, Cook, Dyer, Farmer, Faulkner, Fisher, Hunter, Judge, Parker, Potter, Sawyer, Slater, Smith, Taylor, Thatcher, Turner, Weaver, Woodman, and Wright — and there are many more. It could also be the name for whom a servant worked for. 
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Personal Characteristic

Often they are nicknames describing a person, such as: Short, Long, Little, coloring: Black, White, Green, or Red, which could have evolved into “Reed”, or another character trait.
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Name of an Estate

Descends from landowners may have taken as their surname the name of their holdings, castle, manor, or an estate name, such as Windsor.
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Geographical Landscape Feature
Examples are Bush, Fields, Greenwood, Grove, Hill, Knolles, Moore, Perry, or Stone. Canadian Bestseller Author Margaret Atwood is probably descended from someone who lived “at the wood.”
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Signifying patronage

Some surnames honored a patron. Hickman was Hick’s man (Hick being a nickname for Richard). Kilpatrick was a follower of Patrick.
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From Parents or Ancestors

Surnames that come from a male given name include Davidson (“the son of David”), Dawson, Evans, Harrison, Jackson, Nicholson, Richardson, Robinson, Simpson, Stephenson, Thompson, or Wilson.  
Female surnames include Madison (from Maud), or Marriott (from Mary).Scottish clan names include Armstrong, Cameron, Campbell, Crawford, Douglas, Forbes, Grant, Henderson, Hunter, MacDonald, and Stewart.

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