Where Do Last Names Come From?

How Did Surnames Come to Be? Last Name Meanings and Origins
Where Do Last Names Come From?
  1. The need for originating the last names

    During the middle ages, not only in Europe but worldwide, the population increased extensively. Earlier, most people lived in small villages, but as time evolved, the town grew, and it became difficult to differentiate people based on their first names.

    Many people have the same first names; for instance, Robert, Christian, etc. This emerged the need for coming up with surnames to identify the difference between the people with the same name.

  2. Where does the surname ‘Telford’ emerge from?

    Ironically, the surname ‘Telford’ is derived from a Normal nickname ‘taille for,’ that implied ‘cuts iron,’ symbolizing a possessor of impeccable strength.

  3. The oldest country to use the surnames

    China is one of the oldest countries to use surnames. Three thousand years ago, China’s people used to take over their surnames, passed down by their mothers and fathers.

    Also, Europe was not far behind China. Long ago, they came up with an idea of differentiating people through surnames and linked the last names into 4 categories- patronymic, occupational or status, locative and nicknames. In the beginning, the surnames were simple. Over time, it became diverse and convoluted.

  4. Surnames origin and your family history

    During the 13th and 14th centuries, last names were recorded as societies started collecting taxes and became more bureaucratic.

    When the early last names were linked to occupational or status (based on jobs or social status), locative (based on where the person was born, resided, or worked), patronymic (identified people as their father’s children), and nicknames (identify people based on their personal characteristic or size). Eventually, most people adopted patronymic names.

  5. How did humans start using last names?

    The Norman barons introduced the surnames into England after 1066. Gradually it started getting widespread across the country and began to stick and get passed on.

  6. What was the first last name?

    The oldest surname was recorded to be County Galway, the name of ‘O Cleirigh’, in 916.

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