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Serious question-Where do last names come from

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posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 07:30 PM
We all know you got your last name from your dad,an some cases your mom an they got there last name from there parents.

But where did the last name come from. Im not talking about tracing your family tree an finding a country i wanna know how last names are thought of .

Did a caveman just one day say my last name is smith an go on from there

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 07:33 PM
It depends on the culture I guess. I know in Scotland (from which I got my last name Johnston), it was from clan names that existed for centuries. In Holland, from what I hear from my Dutch friends, last names were a recent addition after they were taken over by France, leading to some bizarre last names made up as jokes.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 07:44 PM
In English, Smith is a generic tradesman's name, ie blacksmith, silversmith. Then there are other occupations like Baker, Carpenter, Barber, Tailor (Taylor), Shoemaker, Cook, etc.

Then there are the "sons of" names. Johnson, Richardson, Davidson, Erickson, Mitchelson, Robertson, etc.

"Mc" names are also son names. McDaniel, McAlister, McAndrew, McDonald.

"O" names, in Ireland, usually mean "of", as in a place name or family name. I'm pretty sure that the "de" and "D'" are also prefixes of place names.

I'm sure there are plenty of surnames that have no such profound history. I once knew a girl named Cindy Outhouse. Go figure.

posted on Oct, 1 2006 @ 12:10 PM

Originally posted by Tuning Spork
I'm sure there are plenty of surnames that have no such profound history. I once knew a girl named Cindy Outhouse. Go figure.

lol... that's not so bad... there's a person with our company with the last name "Assman"... i don't think i'd like to have that one, albeit mine is bad enough as it is (Butts)... lol...

from what i've read my name has a German origin and an English origin... i dunno much about my dad's side so i dunno which one would apply to me... i did find my coat of arms once, that was pretty cool... the motto for it is "possunt quia posse videntur"... "They can because they think they can" or "They are able because they think they are able"...

[edit on 1 10Oct 06 by m3rlz]

posted on Oct, 2 2006 @ 07:12 AM
Surnames can also represent a Title, Position, or relationship to a royal house.
Mine is said to denote a connection to the treasury/exchecquer of the House of Lorraine.
And as far back as we have been able to trace it the family didcome from that area.

Many as has been stated came from the occupation of the person in certain time periods
like the end of slavery in the US. Freed slaves in some cases took the surname of their former owners and some of what they did, Cooper, ,Smith,Houseman,Wainright, Boatright,Farrier,ETC.

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