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Name Origins and Meanings

A thru D

It's fun to browse through the names, but you can quickly find if your name is listed by using FIND from the browser EDIT menu.


Abercrombie is a Scottish place name from a so-named location in Fife which was earlier called Ababcrumbach . It is derived from the Brittonic aber = confluence added to the name of a river, which was named from crom = crooked + the local suffix -ach . Abercromby is a variation.

Abbott : English Occupational name for the man who lived in the house of the Abbott, or sometimes as a nickname for the sanctimonious person.

Adam is an English, French, Catalan, Italian, German, Flemish/Dutch, Jewish (Ashkenazic), and Polish patronymic name derived from Hebrew adama = earth. Aitken, Aiken, Aitkin are forms generally found specifically in Scotland -- it's a diminutive form.

Adlparvar is of Persian ancestry. Some trace the name to a family in Ishkabad, Azerbyjan, (where Persian/Russian borders changed in that area quite a bit between wars), as an arbitrary name. Up until that time, surnames were simply based on their city or their father's name - Tehrani (of Tehran) or Hussaini (of Hussain). Adlparvar; Adl - from the Arabic language, meaning: Justice. And parvar- from Persian, meaning the one who nurtures. The name, therefore, means the one who nurtures Justice .

Adolphus is derived from Adolph , which comes from the Germanic given name Adalwulf , and is composed of the elements adal = noble + wulf = wolf. Until the Second World War, Adolph was a common given name. Cognate forms include Ahlf, Alf (Low German); Adolfi, Adinolfi (Italian). Adolfino is an Italian diminutive form, and other patronymic versions include Ahlfs, Alfs, Adolfsson (the last being Swedish).

Aichelmeyer is a compound name that likely originated in the German Lowlands, where Aichele is a diminutive form of the name which means OAK in English. Meyer is a German term for town official or steward, sometimes similar to Mayor. The name would literally be translated as "oak mayor" which doesn't make for a logical explanation. If there is Jewish heritage involved, it is likely one of the Ashkenazic ornamental names adopted when required by the government. They didn't make literal sense, but were taken because of their pleasing sound, in the same fashion as were the Swede's names. Examples: Aichenblatt (oak leaf), Aichenbaum (oak tree), Eichelberg (oak hill), Eichenholz (oak wood).

Alexander : is a name common throughout the early British Isles taken from the English given name Alexander, which means "defender of men."

Alarcon : is a Spanish Place name derived from Alarcon in Cuenca and Cordoba.

Alarid : may be a version of the name Alard (Alar-i-d) which is a Patronymic name derived from the given name Adelard. From Old English adal =noble + hard =hardy. Another variation of the name is spelled Allard .

Albright is an English variation of the surname Albert, found among the English, Low German, French, Catalan, and Hungarian cultures, from a Germanic name Albrecht, from adal = noble + behrt = bright, famous. Aubert is another English variant; Abert, Aber, Allebrach (Low German); Auber, Aubert, Aube, Aubey (French).

Alford is an English place name that described an old crossing point in a stream or river, and three particular places (Surry, Somerset, and Lincolnshire). The man who emigrated from one of these locations would be known at his new residence as Alford, since people tended to point out the outsiders in their midst as an identification feature. The Surry location derived its name from Old English eald = old + ford = water crossing. The Somerset locale was named for the Old English female given name Ealddyd (from eald = old + gyd = battle). The Lincolnshire location is from Ealh = temple + ford. Allford is a variation.

Alger is an English patronymic name, from the given name Alger, which comes from several places -- Germanic, Norman, and Old English -- which kind of ran together. The second syllable - ger is derived from the Germanic element geri/gari = spear. Alfgeirr (elf spear) was a Norse name which served as one source; Aelfgar is another version (French Norman). The first element of the name is generally assumed to be associated with alb = elf, adal = noble, or ald = old. Variations are Algar, Auger, Elgar, Elger.

Allam is likely a spelling variation of Allem, which is a variation of the French patronymic name Alleaume, from an Old French version of the Germanic given name Adalhelm, composed of the elements adal = noble + helm = protection, helmet. Alliaume and Allem are variations; Ahlhelm is a German cognate, Alm is the Frisian version, and Adlam is the English cognate.

Allard/Alard/Allert : English Patronymic Name...from the old name Adelard. It's components are adal = hardy + hard. Allart and Allert are variations of the name.

Alle is a Germanic name that meant "noble" and Brand is often used in Germanic compound names such as Hildabrand, and derived from the personal name Brando, which was a shortened form of several names that contained the element brand = sword < brinnan = to flash. Allenbrand is "noble sword" when taken at its literal sense.

Allyn is a spelling variation of the English and Scottish patronymic name Allen , an ancient Celtic name derived from Gaelic ailin = little rock. Variations are Alan, Allan, Allegyne, Alline, Allin . Patronymic forms include Allenson, Allis, Allanson, Allison, Allinson, Hallison, FitzAlan, McAllan, McAline, McEllen, McElane, McKellan, McKellen .

Allender : English/Scottish patronymic name, from the Celtic name of antiquity Alan, from Ailin = rock and sometimes derived from Allen as the name of a town or settlement.

Alston is an English patronymic name derived from the Middle English given name Alstan, which was a combination of several other names of the time composed of the elements oedel = nobel, aelf = elf, eald = old + stan = stone. There were several places named Alston (Lancashire, Devon, and Somerset) and the name may have described a man who came from there. Alstone, and Allston are variations.

Ameigh may be a diminutive cognate of the English name (from French-Norman) Amis, from the Old French nickname Amis = friend. Variations are Amiss, Amies, Ames . Cognates include Ami, Amy, Lamy (French); Amico (Italian). Diminutives include Amiguet, Amiot, Amyot, Amiel (French); Amicelli, Amicino, Amighini, Amigh, Amigotti, Amietti (Italian); Amigo (Catalan). Patronymic forms include D'Amico, D'Amici , and De Amicis in Italy, and in England -- Amson and Amison.

Anderson : is the ninth most common surname in America, and owes that position to the popularity of the name Andrew in England, Scotland, and Scandinavian countries. Andrew (man) was the first of the disciples called by Jesus, and was a revered name due to its church influences through medieval times. St. Andrew is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia and many given names were chosen to honor the saint. Patronymic surnames are names used to describe a man by using his father's name. In Norway the name takes the form Andresen, Anders , and Enders ; the Swedes in American eliminated the extra -S- they normally include to become Anderson. It was Andersson and Anderssen before they emigrated. The French form is Andre , with an accent mark above the ending letter. Andrews is largly found in Scotland, along with McAndrew -- the prefix Mc being another patronymic designation -- which is also found in Ireland. In Italy, the name is D'Andrea , in Poland it is Andrzejewski , in the Ukraine it is Andrijenko , and in Czechoslovakia, Andrew takes the form of Ondrus .

Andrade is a Portuguese patronymic name that is believed to be derived from the Greek given name Andras, from andros = man, male. It is also commonly found in Spain. There are several locations in Portugal by this name, which were likely named as a result of someone bearing this surname.

Angell is a variation of the English and French nickname Angel, derived from Old French angel > Latin angelus > greek angelos = messenger. It was the nickname for the man of angelic quality, or occasionally, the nickname for the man who played the part of the angel in a local pageant. Angeau is a French variation. Cognates exist in many languages.

Anger is a French variation of the English (of Norman origin) and French patronymnic name Ainger, which comes from the Germanic given name Ansger, composed of the elements ans = god + ger,gar = spear. Angier, Anger, Angear, Aunger are English variations. Anger, Anquier, Ansquer are among the French versions.

Angulo is a form of the name Angle, a place name that described the man who lived on an odd-shaped piece of land. The form Angle is English, which is also found as Nangle. Angulo (actually ngulo -- with the diacritical mark above the A) is the form of the name found originally in Spain.

Annesley is a English place name in Nottinghamshire, derived from Old English an = solitary + leah = wood, clearing. It described the man who came from the settlement at the "woods that stand alone."

Antecki is a variation of the name Anthony , one of the most common names, derived from Latin Antonius , an ancient Roman family name of unknown etymology. Antaki may be a variation as well.

Appel/Appelbaum : The German Place names Appel and Applebaum/Appelbaum described the man who lived by the apple tree, and Appelt is a likely variation.

Armitage is an English place name for the medieval man who lived near a hermitage, from Middle English and Old French hermitage > hermite = hermit, coming by way of Late Latin eremita, eremos = solitary. Variations are Armytage, Hermitage . Most if not all of those who bear the name are descended from a family that lived at Hermitage Bridge in Almondbury, near Huddersfield in England, during the 1200's. It was brought to North America by Enoch Armitage who was born in 1677, and was the first of several family members to emigrate from Wooldale, Yorkshire.

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.

Arrington is derived two ways: 1st, as a variation of the surname Harrington, which -- when of English (Cumberland) origin -- comes from Old English Hoeferingtun = "settlement associated with Hoefer." Hoefer is a nickname that meant "He-goat." When of Irish origin, Harrington is derived from Gaelic O'hArrachtain = "descendant of Arrachtan (powerful, mighty).
When Arrington isn't a variation of Harrington, it is derived from a place in Cambridgeshire, which was named from Old English Earningatun = "settlement of the people of Earna." Earna was a nickname that meant "eagle."

Arthur is an English and French patronymic name, from the Celtic given name Arthur , which is of disputed etymology, but has been in continuous use since the Middle Ages, partly due to the King Arthur tales, based on a 6th century British leader. French variations are Arthus, Artus, Arthuys . Cognates include Arturo, Artusio, Artuso, Artusi (Italian); Artur (Portuguese). Arthurs, MacArthur, McArthur, McArtair, McAirter, McCairtair, McCarter are patronymic forms.

Asbury is also an English place name, but of uncertain origin, although the second element is derived from Old English burh = fortified town. The first element may have been derived from Ash or a medieval given name. It was predominately found in the West Midlands area of England.

Ashe is a variation of Ash found primarily in Ireland. Ash is an English place name that described the man who lived by the ash tree, from Old English oesc = ash. It also described the man who emigrated from any of the several locations by that name.

Ashmore : is an English Place name that was derived from the Old English oesc = ash + mor = marsh...for a literal translation of ash-marsh. The man who lived near there often acquired that as his surname.

Asmussen is a variation of the surname Erasmus that is most commonly found among the Danish, Norwegians, and Lowland Germans. Erasmus is of German origin, from a given name that came from the Greek erasmos = loved. A St. Erasmus was a patron of sea-going men, but remained a somewhat obscure figure, which contributed to the obscurity of the name. Variations are Rasmus, Asmus, Eras ; diminutive forms are Rasem, Asam, Asum, Rassmann, Assmann, Raes, Raskin . Patrnymic forms include Asmesen, Asmes (German); Asmussen (Low German); Rasmussen, Asmussen (Danish, Norwegian).

Atkins is a Patronymic name, derived from the early given name Adam (Hebrew adama = red earth or man), originating in England, France, Catalan, Italy, Germany, and Poland, as well as the Ashkenazic Jewish, Dutch and Flemish. Diminutive forms of Adam are Adkin, Atkin, Aitkin, Adnett, Adnitt , and Ade . Italian variants are Adami, Dami ; Polish and Jewish versions include Adamski . The Hugarian cognate is Adam , in Provencal it is Azam , in Spain, Adan .

Atnip : English Place Name...The Medieval English said atten to mean "at the" creating names like ATWOOD meaning "at-the-woods." The Old English word heope (pronounced like hip) meant "rose-hip." Atten + heope or "at-the-roses" can easily be anglicized as Atnip.

Oak is an English place name that described the man who lived near a prominent oak tree or in an oak woods, from the Middle English word oke = oak. It may also have been a nickname for the man who was exceptionally strong, as the tree. Variations are Oake, Oke, Oaks, Oakes, Oaker, Atrtock, Attoc, Attack, Atack, Aikman (Scottish version).

Aton is derived from two Old English elements t = at, near + tun = settlement, enclosure -- and described the man who lived near, or at, a recognized local settlement.

Austin is an English Patronymic name, derived from the given name Aoustin introduced into England by the Normans.

Avans is a patronymic version of the Welsh name Evans, which was originally drawn from the given name Ifan, Evan = John. Occasionally it is a variant of the Scottish surname Ewan which is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name Eogann . Other patronymic forms are Evans, Evens, Evance, Ifans, Iving, Heavans, Heavens, Bevan .

Ayers is a patronymic version of the surname Ayer , an English Nickname for the man who was well known to be the heir to a title or fortune, from the Middle English word eir, eyr = heir. Variants include Ayr, Ayre, Eyer, Eyre, Hayer, Heyer , among others.

B

Baca is a Spanish cognate of the Italian nickname Vacca, which is derived from the Latin vacca = cow, and is the name given to the cowherd or gentle person. Vacchi is an Italian variant. Vetch, Veitch are Scottish cognates, while Vaca and Vacas are additional Spanish cognates of the name. Numerous diminutive forms exist including Vachelli, Vachette, Vachey, Vachez, Vachon, Vachot, Vachoux, Vacquez, and Vacquin.

Bagwell is an English place name derived from the Medieval given name Bacga + the Old English wella = well, spring -- and would have described the man who lived by a well owned by a man named Bacga, probably a notable location at the time.

Bailey is an English occupational name for a steward or official, from the Middle English bailli = carrier, porter. In Scotland, the bailli is the magistrate and bailiff is a form that has evolved elsewhere. Occasionally, the name is derived as an English Place name from a Middle English word derived from Old French baille = enclosure. In this form it originally meant the person living by the outer wall of the castle, but Old Bailey, a place in Lancashire which formed part of the outer wall of some medieval castle, also became the origin for surname for people from that location. There are numerous variations in many countries, including Baillie (Scotland), Bayless , Bailess, Lebailly (French), Bally (Swiss), Baglione (Italian), and Bailloux (Provencal).

Baker : As you might suspect, this name originated in the occupation of a medieval townsman, where many of the most frequently found surnames were derived. Baker is the 7th most frequently found occupational surname in America.

Bakeman was likely originally spelled as Bakmann -- at any rate, it is a cognate form of Baker , the occupational name for the owner of a communal oven who cooked the breads for the entire village, or for the man who baked goods in the village great house or castle. The maintainance of a community oven operated in exchange for loaves of bread was a hereditary privilege during the feudal period in England. Variations are Baiker, Bacher, Baxter . Cognates (same word in another language) include Backer, Becker, Beckermann (German); Bakker, DeBaecker, De Backer, De Becker, Bakmann, Beckers (Flemish, Dutch); Becker, Beckerman (Jewish).

Baldwin is an English Patronymic name from the given name comprised of the Germanic elements bald = bold, brave + wine = friend. Baldwin was an extremely popular given name among the Normans and in Flanders during the Middle Ages. The first Christian king of Jerusalem was Baldwin, as was the count of Flanders who lead the Fourth Crusade and became the first Latin Emperor of Constantinople in 1204. Occasionally, Baldwin is an Irish surname adopted by bearers of the Gaelic name O'Maolagain , as a result of an association with an English term meaning bald, as a nickname. Congnative forms of the English version are Baudouin (French); Baldovino, Balduini, Baldoin (Italian); Valdovinos (Spanish); and Baldewin, Ballwein, Bollwahn , and Bollwagen (German).

Ballard: Many times nicknames that had become attached to people, stuck as their surname. Some were cruel, some weren't too bad. Those that had particularly cruel names either changed the spelling or changed their names altogether. Ballard is the nickname that the English sometimes gave to those whose head were short in the hair department. Bald, Balch , and Ballard are typical English Nicknames for that description.

Barlow is an English place name taken from any of the so-named locations in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, derived from Old English bere = barley + hlaw = hill. The location by that name in Derbyshire is name from Old English var = boar + leah = clearing, meadow.

Barna/Barner : Hungarian Patronymic name from the given name Barnaby, who was St. Paul's companion and a fairly common early given name.

Barnard is a French and English variation of the surname Bernard, which has origins among the English, French, Polish, and Czechs, and is derived from the Germanic given name Bernhard, from the elements ber = bear + hard = brave, hardy. The name was introduced to England by the conquering Normans in 1066 (that was the date William won the battle; the name might have been introduced a day or two later...) Variations are Barnard (English, French); Beneard, Besnard, Benard (French); Biernat, Biernacki, Bernadzki (Polish); Ber, Bern, Beran (Czech).

Barnes : English Place Name, from Barnes (in Surry or Aberdeenshire) so named because of the barns that were located there. There were also Barnes families who were known by the name of their father (English Patronymic Name) who was called Barn, a pet form of Barnabas -- a name not used much these days that means 'son of prophesy or consolation.' Some Barnes families are descended from Beorn, a given name that meant 'nobleman' and still others had a patronymic designation from Bairn, a name often given to a young child of a prominent family.

Barnett is a variation of Barnet , an English place name derived from Old English brnet = place cleared by burning. There are a number of so-named locations by the name, and the man who emigrated from such a place was referenced at his new home by his place of origin.

Barnwell is an English place name from from Barnwell in Cambridgeshire, from Old English beorna = warriors' + wella = stream, or from Barnwell in Northamptonshire, from Old English byrgen = burial mound + wella = stream. Barnewall is a variation.

Barrett is an English patronymic name derived from the given name Bernhard , of Germanic origin, which was introduced by the Normans into England with William the Conqueror. Bernhard is derived from ber = bear + hard = hardy, and Barrett is a diminutive form. Barrett is occasionally derived from Middle English barat = trouble, strife, deception -- and was a nickname for the quarrelsome person. Also, it is occasionally an occupational name for the hatmaker, from Old French barette = cap, bonnet. Variations are Barret, Barrat, Barratt, Barritt . Cognate forms and diminutives are also abundant.

Barrington : English Place name, from several locations by that name, the one in Gloucester derived from Old English Beorningtun (settlement of Beorn), the Somerset location derived from Bara's Settlement. Occasionally Barrington is an Anglicized form of O'Bearain , descendant of Bearan (spear).

Barron : English Nickname that called attention to noble birth or exalted rank.

Bartol is a cognate of Bartholomew, from the medieval given name from Aramaic bar-Talmay (son of Talmay) whose name meant 'having many furrows' in the sense of having much land. Bartlam is an English variation of Bartholomew. Cognates include Bartelmy, Barthelmy, Barthelemy, Berthelemy, Berthelmy , (French); Bartholomieu, Bartomieu, Berthomieu, Bertomieu, Berthome, Berthomier (Provencal); Bartolommeo, Bartolomeo, Bortolomei, Tolomei, Tomme, Tommei, Tolomio, Meo (Italian); Bartolome (Spain); Bartomeu, Bertomeu (Catalan); Bartolomeu (Portugal); Bartholomaus, Bartoloma, Bartolomaus (German); Barthelme, Barthelmes, Meus, Mebius, Mebus, Mebis, Mobius, Miebes (Low German); Bartolomivis, Mewe, Mewis, Meeus, Mees, Meys, Mebes (Flemish, Dutch); Bartosch (German, Slav origin); Barta, Bartak, Bartos, Barton (Czech); Bartlomiej (Polish); Barta, Bartal (Hungarian). Diminutive forms include Bartlett, Bartleet, Bart, Bartle, Barty, Bartie (English); Berthelemot, Bertelemot, Bartholin, Bartol, Bartolin, Bertolin, Bartel, Barthelet, Bartelet, Berthel, Barthot, Bartot, Bertot, Berthot, Barthod, Bartod (French); Bartolomeotti, Bartolomucci, Bartolini, Bartoli, Bartalini, Bartali, Bartoletti, Bartaletti, Bartolozzi, Bartalucci, Bartelli, Barocci, Bartolotti, Bortolini, Bortolutti, Bortoluzzi, Tolussi, Tolomelli, Tolumello,Tolotti, Tolossi, Tolussi (Italian); Bart, Barth, Barthel, Bartel, Bartl (German); Baert, Bartolijn, Bartoleyn (Flemish, Dutch); Bartke, Bartek, Bachura, Bacha, Bachnik (German, Slav origin); Gartosek, Bartusek, Bartunek (Czech); Bartlomiejczyk, Bartoszek, Bartosik (Polish); Bartok, Bertok (Hungarian). Patronymic forms also exist in several languages.

Bass/Basso : English/Italian Nickname...Surnames were often taken from nicknames given to the progenitor of a family -- in the case of Bass, the English used the word as a nickname for a small or thin person, along with Block, Grubb, Littell, Short, Smalley , etc. In Italy, the same nickname is Basso .

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).

Bays is a patronymic form of the English and French nickname Bay, which described the man with the chestnut or auburn hair, derived from Old French and Middle English bay, bai = reddish-brown. Bai is a French variation. Bayo is a Spanish cognate and Baaij, Bay are found among the Dutch. Bayet is a diminutive French form, and diminutive forms found in Provencal include Bayol, Bajol, Bajolet, Bayoux . Bays and Bayes are patronymic forms meaning "son of Bay."

Beachum is a variation of the English (Norman) and French name Beauchamp , a place name from several so-named French locales, from Old French beu, bel = fair + champs = field, plain. Beacham, Beachamp, Beehcam, Beacom, Belchamp are other forms.

Beard was a fairly common English Nickname, for the man who wore a beard, and a number of surnames were derived from it. The suffix - den or - don is from an Old English element for dune, or hill. Bearden in that context would be "Beard's Hill" a fairly good description for a medieval location, from which many surnames drew their meaning.

Bearce, Bearse : the old English word bearu, beara , meant "grove, wood" and there are nearly forty places in SW England named from that root in variations such as Beare, Beere , etc. The man who hailed from that location and moved to another town was often described by his former place of residence. The addition of the -S most often designates a patronymic form. If a man named John moved to a town, where there were several men named John already, he might be described as "John, of Beare." His son would be described as Beare's, or Beare's son. Most of surnames of this style are related to the Old English bearu/beara = grove. Spellings were not standardized until after the American Civil War, a fact we are sometimes surprised by, since spellings are so important to us in this age of computers. There is actually an Anglo-Saxon vocabulary word" bearce which means "barking." I don't know how that might figure in as a surname origin, but I thought I would pass it along as well!

Beattie/Beaty/Beatty/Beatie/Beatey : Scottish/Northern Irish Patronymic name...derived from the name Bartholomew. Bate was a pet form of that given name, and sons of Bate might be known as Beattie, Beatty, or Beatey.

In medieval times (when surnames were adopted), there were several given names that were commonly found among both men AND women. Thinking about it, such practices are not so uncommon today either. (I've made several mistakes assuming gender regarding people who have sent me Email, witness: Chris, Pat, Sammy, et al.).
Bebbe was one such name. Bebb is a patronymic surname of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a variation of the given name Bebbe, which would also occur as a surname in that spelling. Bebbing is a diminutive form, and the location in Cheshire, England called Bebbington is derived from the combination of Bebbe/Bebbing + Old English tun = settlement, which described a medieval settlement headed by Bebbe or Bebbing.

Bechtel is a German patronymic name that described the descendant of Betto, a name that was a pet form of several German names that began with Bercht, which meant "bright, famous." Berhtolf and Berhtari are examples of names that would have been reduced to Betto in a familiar or pet form.

Beck/Beckman/Bachman : German Place Name...There were many names for the 'one who dwells by the stream' and in Germany they included Beck/Beckman/Bachman.

Beddow is a Welsh patronymic name derived from the personal name Bedo, which was a form of Meredydd with elements that meant "splendor, lord." Variations are Beddoe, Bedo, Eddo (achieved through Ap'Bedo , meaning "son of Bedo") with patronymic forms including Beddowes, Beddows, Beddoes, Beddis, Eddowees, Edess .

Beebe : a variation of Beeby, the English Place name for the man from a so-named settlement in Leicestershire, which was named from Old English beo = bee + Old Norse byr = settlement, village.

Bekker is a variation of the German Occupational name Becher , the occupation of the man who created wooden vessels such as cups, mugs, and pitchers. It is derived from Middle High German becher , from Greek bikos = pot, pitcher. Occasionally it referred to the German man who worked with pitch, a substance used in waterproofing such items; and also, Becher originates sometimes as a Jewish name of uncertain origin or an English Place name as a variant of Beech . The Bender was a common term for the German maker of casks and barrels, and he often came to be known by his trade name.

Bennett/Bennet : English Patronymic name from the name Bennet, which means 'blessed' a popular name during the middle ages. It has variations in several languages, and spellings. American singer Tony Bennett uses two versions -- his artworks are signed Anthony Benedetto , his name before being American-ized. He was `blessed' Bennet with a great voice!

Bentley : is an English Place name that is a combined form of the Old English word leah , which meant 'clearing in the woods.' The bent-leah was the 'clearing in the woods with the bent grass,' and Bentley was the man who lived there.

Benz/Benzer : In early times when advertising was in its infancy, (before television and the proliferation of literacy -- and the subsequent decline due to the aforementioned...) innkeepers had pictures placed on their hanging outdoor signs for identification. The bear was one of the popular depictions. Benz is a German place name derived from the place of the 'bear sign' with Benzer as a derivative.

Berger is polygenetic, in that it comes from more than one origin. As a variation of the German surname Berg it describes the man who lived on or by a hill or mountain. Bergman is another variation. Berger is also derived as a French cognate form of the English surname Barker , when it is used in the sense of the shepherd and derived from Anglo Norman French bercher . During the Middle Ages, -er was pronounced as -ar and bercher became barker -- it was sometime later that educators began reteaching the proper pronunciation of common words. Barker is also the occupational name of the tanner of leather, derived from Middle English barken = to tan, stemming from the use of tree bark in the tanning process. Berger, Bergey, Berget are French cognates of the shepherd version, while Berguier, Bergier have their origins in Provencal. Bergeret, Bergerot, Bergeron, Bergeroneau, Bergerioiux are diminutive forms.

Berheiser is a German place name derived from the Old High German ber = bear + heiser = house, which described a public house or inn that displayed the sign of the bear outside. The innkeep was often known by the name of the animal who picture appeared on the sign outside his door.

Bernier is a French cognate of the English (of Norman origin) patronymic name Berner, comprised of the Germanic elements bern = bear + hari = army. Benier, Besnier are other French cognates. Berneret, Bernerette, Berneron, Bernerin, Bernelin are French diminutive forms.

Berthet is a diminutive form of the French (also found as English, and rarely German) Patronymic surname Bert, from the Germanic given name Berto, which occurred mainly in compound names with berht (bright, famous) as the first element. It is found in Italy as Berti. Other diminutive forms are Bertie (English); Berton, Berthoneau, Bertet, Berthellin, Berthelot, Bertellin, Bertelot, Bertillon, Berthilet (French); Bertorelli, Bertelli, Bertinetti, Bertinotti, Bertuccelli, Bertuccioli, Bertozzi, Bertuzzi, Bertocchini, Bertoccini, Pertini, Pertotti (Italian); Berthelin, Bertolin (Catalan); Bertl (German); Bethke, Bethmann (Low German).

Best is an English and French occupational name for the man who took care of the animals (the beasts, Old French beste ) or as an unflattering nickname for the man who had a beastly temperament or appearance. Beste is a variation. When of German origin, Best is a place name for the man who lived by the river Beste, or who hailed from any of the several villages called Besten. When of Beatles origin, it designates the drummer before Ringo, Pete Best .

Bettencourt : French Place name to describe someone from Bettencourt, France. There are several spelling variations of the place name. Bettencourt was originally or Germanic origin; Betto's court, with Betto a variant of the personal name Bert with the suffix court, which means farmyard. It is prevalent in Portugal where it was first recorded in the 1300's.

Bialas is the Polish nickname for the fair haired man, from the Polish word bial = white, blond + as = masculine suffix. Biela is a variation. Cognate forms include Bily, Bilan (Ukraine); Bil, Bily, Belohlavek (Czech). Diminutive forms include Bealasik, Bialczyk, Bialek, Belik, Bilek, Bilko, Belyak, Bialik, Bielak, Bialovchik .

Biedenweg , an unusual German place name, means "by the way" as a location of where someone lived -- 'way' meaning course or path. An Old Middle German given name was Budde , which evolved into several surnames. Budde's Way, or the path to Budde's settlement or enclosure, might have been taken as a surname for someone who lived along that trail -- as Buddeweg or Budweg .

Biel is derived from the Slavic element byel = white. There are several Eastern European cities named Byale from this same element.

Bielski is a Polish and Jewish (Ashkenazic) place name for the man from one of the so-named locations in Eastern Europe, from Slavic byel = white + -ski (surname suffix). Occasionally it was a nickname for a fair-haired person, from Polish bial = white. Bielecki, Bialecki, Bielinski, Bielawski, Bilski are Polish variations, Bilski, Bialski, Bielecki, Bielicki, Biletzki, Bielinski, Bielinsky, Bielensky, Bialinski are Jewish forms.

Billings : English Place name for the man who was one of "Billa's people" or who is from Billinge (which is derived from an Old English term for sword) in Lancashire.

Bingley is an English place name, as determined by the suffix - ley , from Old English leah = clearing, meadow. The prefix is generally a descriptive term for the clearing, and in this case, it may be derived from Old English byne = cultivated. The man who came from the so-named town in Yorkshire would be known by that description at his new location, as would the man whose dwelling was near a similar cultivated clearing in the woods.

Bish is a variation of the English place name Bush , for the man who lived near a thicket, from Middle English bushe = bush. Bish, Bysh, Bysshe are variations. Cognates include Busch, Buscher, Bosche, Bosch, Boschmann, Zumbusch , and others.

Bixby is an English place name from "Bekki's homestead" in Lincolnshire.

Blackburn : Scottish Patronymic/Place name...Blackburn is somewhat of an oddity in that many Scottish families with the name originated from the town of Blackburn, which was named for an original settler. He likely got the name because of where he formerly lived -- black-burn being the reference to a 'dark stream.'

Blain : is a Scottish Patronymic name derived from Blane, or Blaan -- given names that honored St. Blane, a Scottish Saint.

Blair is a Scottish and Northern Irish (Ulster) place name from any of the several so-named locations, derived from Gaelic blr = plain, field (often in the sense of battlefield).

Blaise is a French patronymic name from the Medieval given name Blaise, derived from Latin Blassius, which originally was a nickname for a person with difficulty speaking or a limp, from Latin blaesus = stammering and Greek blaisos = bowlegged. One of the early Christian martyrs bore the name, which lent to its popularity as a given name despite the original meaning of the name. Blais is a variation. There are numerous cognate forms of the name in several languages.

Blalock and Blaylock are English Nicknames for the man who had the black hair, or the Bla'ck locks.

Blankenship is an English place name from the location in Northumberland called Blenkinsopp, meaning "top valley."

Blau is a German nickname, from Old High German blao = blue, and was given in several senses -- the person who almost always wore blue clothing, the man with blue eyes, or the man with the pale or bluish complexion (generally not a sign of good health). Blauer, Blauert are German variations. Plabst, Plab are found in Bavaria. Blauer is also a Jewish variation. Cognate forms also exist in several languages include Blue (English); De Blauw, Blauw, Blauwaert (Flemish); Blaauw (Dutch).

Bleau is likely a variant cognate of the German nickname Blau, from German blau = blue, which described the man who tended to wear blue, had blue eyes, or a pale complexion -- something distinctive enough that the neighbors knew who was being discussed when "blue" was used as a description beyond the given name. A number of Blau surnames are Jewish Ashkenazic ornamental names, taken when surnames were ordered by the government. Variations of Blau are Blauer, Blauert, Plab, Plabst . Cognate forms include De Blauw, Blaauw, Blauwaert (Flemish); Blaauw, Blauw (Dutch); Bleu, LeBleu, Blauf (French); Blue (Anglicized). The Jewish ornamental name generally had a suffix, such as Blaufeder (blue feather).

Blevins is a patronymic form of the Welsh name Blevin, from the given name Bleiddyn which meant "Wolf Cub" from blaidd = wolf + -yn (a diminutive suffix). Blaidd was often used among the early Welsh to describe a hero. Blethyn is a variation. Blevins, Pleavins, Plevin, Pleven, Pleaden are patronymic forms (those beginning with P are derived from ap'Blevin , meaning "son of Blevin).

Blood was taken from Old English blod = blood, but as a surname, its significance isn't clear. It may have been a nickname for the man with the red hair, or the name for the physician -- they used that term to describe the man who 'let blood.' The suffix -worth is from Old English word = settlement. The name Bloodsworth is literally 'Blood's settlement.'

Blount/Blunt : English descriptive name...derived from the Old French word blund -- which meant 'blond, or yellow-haired.'

Boarder is the English place name for the man who lived in a house built of wood planks, from OE bord = board, plank of wood. Boardman is a variation (chiefly Lancashire) along with Bordier, Border, Board, Boord . There are numerous cognate and diminutive forms as well.

Boatright is an English occupational name, in the same sense as shipwright or wheelright, and is a compound comprised of the Old English elements bat = boat + wyrhta = worker, builder. A wright is a person who builds, generally with wood -- but the term is usually found as a compound.

Boeuf is a French Nickname for a powerfully built man, from the Old French boeuf = bull. Variants are Leboeuf, Boey, and Boez. Cognates are Boff, Leboff (England), La Bau, Boe, Boi, Lo Voi (Italian), and others.

Bohannon is likely derived as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic O Buadhachain , which meant "descendant of Buadachan" whose name meant "victorious." Boohan, Bohane, O'Boughan, O'Bougan, O'Boghan, Boghan are variations.

Bohm : and its variants are German Nicknames derived from the terms used to identify a person from Bohemia. From Old German Baii + heim =home. Variations include Bahem, Boehme , and Boehm , among others.

Bois is a French place name for the man who lived or worked in the woods, derived from Old French bois = wood. Variations are Dubois, Desbois, Bost, Dubos, Dubost . Cognate forms include Boyce (English); Bosc (Provencal); Bosque (Spain); Bosch Bosque, Boscos, Bosca (Catalan); DelBosco, Boschi, Busco (Italian). Diminutive forms are also found.

Bolek is a Polish diminutive version of the patronymic namy Boleslawski, from the given name Boleslaw, from the Slavic elements bole = greater + slav = glory + ski = surname suffix. Bolecek is a Czech version. Boleslawski, Boleslavski , and Boleslavsky are Jewish cognates derived as adoptions of the non-Jewish surname.

Bolin is a variation of Boman, a Swedish place name that described the man who lived in a settlement that was some ways distant from a larger settlement, and comes from the Swedish word bo = dwelling, farm + man = man. The terms were derived from Old Norse b + mar. The Swedes were among the last to adopt surnames, and in many cases this name was taken as an ornamental surname (chosen for its pleasing sound, rather than having any actual basis in fact) when surnames were adopted. Variations are Bohman, Bohlin, Bolin . Similar ornamental compounds are Boberg (farm hill), Bogren (farm branch), Bolinder (farm with lime tree), Boqvist (farm twig), Bostrm (farm river).

Bonner is a variation of Bonar , the English and Scottish nickname derived from Middle English bonere = gentle, courteous, handsome > from Old French bonnaire > from the phrase de bonne aire = of good bearing. Bonnar, Boner are other variations. Bonnaire is a French cognate -- Bonaro is the Italian version.

Booth is an English Place name for the man who lived in a small hut or bothy from the Middle English word bothe , and usually designated a cowman or shepherd. It has Scandinavian origins and denoted the various kinds of temporary shelter, and is more common in Northern England and Scotland. Variations include Boothe, Boothman, Boden, Bodin .

Borel is a variation of Bourrel, a French nickname derived from a diminutive form of Boure, which had different meanings in different contexts, but could be understood as cushion, harness, headdress, collar. The nickname would apply to the habitual wearer of one of these items. It could also be given as an occupational name for the maker of one of these items. Bourreau, Borel, Borrel are variations. Burrel, Burrell, Borrel, Borrell, Birrell (English) and Borrelli (Italian) are cognates.

Boulton is a variation of the English place name Bolton, and described the man from one of the several so-named locations in Northern England. It is comprised of the Old English elements bodl = dwelling, house + tun = enclosure, settlement.

Bounds is a patronymic form of the name Bound, meaning "son of Bound" and Bound is a variation of the English, Swedish, Norwegian name Bond, derived from Old Norse bonde = farmer. It designated a peasant farmer, and was also used as a given name, which lead to many Scandinavian surnames. After the Norman conquest, the word bond/bound took a dive in status, and came to be understood as "bound servitude" or "free landholder bound by loyalty to the landlord" but originally, and among Scandinavians, it meant simply "farmer." Variations are Bonde, Bound, Boundey, Bundey, Bundy . Bnde, Bonne are Norwegian and Danish cognates. Bunde is the Low German form. Bounds, Bonds are English patronymic forms while Bondesen and Bonnesen are found among the Scandinavians.

Bowen is a Welsh Patronymic name from the given name Owen. In early times, when they said "son of" they said it ap or ab . For example, William ap'John, was William the-son-of John. In the case of Owen, it was William ap'Owen -- which when said the least bit quickly, immediately becomes, William Bowen . Occasionally, Bowen is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O'Buadhachain (descendant of Buadachain).

Bower : English Place name for the person who lived in a small cottage or occasionally, an occupational name for the house servant, derived from Old English bur = cottage, inner room. Variants include Bowers, Bour, Bowerer, Boorer, Bowering , and others. Dutch versions include Van Buren, Van Buuren , and Van den Bueren .

Bowman is a name that is quite literal; it's the English Occupational name for the archer, from Old English boga = bow + mann = man, although occasionally it is an Anglicized form of the German and Dutch surname Baumann -- consult your heritage for the correct version. Variants of Bowman are Boman , and Beauman . The cognate form in Dutch and Flemish is Boogman .

Box is an English name that has several origins: it may have named the man who lived by the box thicket, or who emigrated from any of the several English locations called Box. Box wood is a hard wood used in medieval times to make tools, and Box may have described the toolmaker or woodworker. Boxer is a variation. Cognate forms in other languages include Bouis, Buis, Bouix, Dubouis, Dubuis, Buisse (French); Boix (Catalan).

Boydston is an English place name, derived from the Irish and Scottish name Boyd + Old English tun = settlement, enclosure. I don't know the exact location, or whether it actually survived to present times. Boyd is of uncertain etymology, although sometimes listed as describing a man with yellow hair, or derived from the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, from Gaelic Bod. Boyde, Boyda are variations.

Boyes is a patronymic from a Low German and Danish given name -- Boye -- derived from Germanic given name Boio, which is of uncertain origin. Botha was a common medieval name and Boio may be another form. Variations of Boye are Boje, Boie, Bohe . Cognate formare are Bov, Bovo, Bovio, Bovi (Italian). Boyke, Boyk, Boykin are diminutive forms. Boysen, Boyens, Bojens, Boeing, Boysen, Boisen, Bojesen, Boesen are other patronymic forms.

Boylan refers to the man who came from Boyland derived from Old English references to "Boia's grove" in Norfolk.

Boynton is an English place name, as identified by the suffix -tun = settlement, enclosure, but it isn't listed as such among my sources. It may be a variation of Bovington, a place name from the Old English Bofingtun = settlement of Bofa, or a variation of Boyton, derived from the several locations so-named that meant "Boia's settlement." Additionally, it could identify another settlement named for another man whose name was similar to Boia or Bofa.

Brackett is a diminutive form of the English and German occupational name Brack , which was the name that described the master of hunting dogs, from the Middle High German word bracke , and the Old French word brachet which formed the English cognate. Prack is a German variation. Brackner is an English variation. Cognate forms include Brac, Bracq, Braque, Braconnier, Braquennier, Bracco, Bracchi, Braccaro . Other diminutive forms include Bracket, Brachet, Braquet, Braconnet, Braconnot .

Bradford : English Place Name...Settlers near a crossing point on a watercourse often adopted 'ford' as their surname. A wide crossing was a 'broad-ford' and those living there - Bradford. Incidentally, Bradford was one of the 50 surnames of people arriving on the Mayflower in 1620.

Bradley is an English and Scottish place name, from the Old English elements brd = broad + leah = wood, clearing. Places called "broad clearing" or Bradley exist throughout Scotland and England. Occasionally, Bradley is derived as an Anglicized Irish version of the Gaelic patronymic name Brolchin, which meant "descendant of Brolach." Variations are Bradly, Bratly, Bratley, Broadely, Broadly .

Brake : English place name -- which derived from the way they described bushes or a thicket in medieval times. The person who lived by the 'bracken' thicket or bushes sometimes acquired the surname Brake.

Brandis is derived from Brand, the English, French, and German patronymic name from the given name Brando, brand = sword. Also, the place in Germany cleared by fire was called brant, giving cause for the surname for the man who lived near there. Braund, Brant, Brandon, Brandt are variations. Brandi, Brando, Branno, Branni, Prando, Prandi are Italian cognate forms. Occasionally Brandis is derived from Brandejs , the Czech place name from the town of Brandys on the Elbe, north of Prague. Brandes, Brandeis are other forms of that one.

Brantley is an English place name that described the man from "Brand's woods" or "Brand's clearing." It is comprised of the elements Brand (a given name of Germanic origin that means 'sword') + leah = woods, clearing. The man who lived at Brand's leah was identified by that location by others who referred to him, which evolved into Brandley and Brantley. The form with the -t was more common in the West Midlands area of England.

Brandon is an English place name, from any of the several locations so named which derived there names from Old English brom = broom + dun = hill. The man who emigrated from one location to another was often known by the place of his origin.

Brashears is a patronymic version of the English occupational name Brasher, which was brought to England by the Normans during the Conquest. Brasher is derived from Old French brasser = to brew. Occasionally, it originates as an occupational name for the worker in brass, from Old English broesian = to cast in brass. Variants are Braisher, Bracer, Brasseur, Brasier, Braizier, Brazier . A French cognate is LeBrasseur .

The name Bray is an English place name and described the man who either lived in the so-named settlement in Berkshire, or the settlement with the same name in Devon. The settlement in Berkshire was named from Old French bray = marsh, and the Devon location got its name from the Cornish term bre = hill. When a man moved to a new location, he was often described by his new neighbors by his place of origin, to differentiate him from others in the town with the same given name.

Bredon, Breden, Breedon of English origin. It is derived from places (in Leicestershire and Worcestershire) that are comprised of the Old English elements bre =hill + dun =low hill.

Breedlove may be a combination of the Old English brad = broad, wide + AngloNormanFrench louve = she-wolf. The term louve was widely used as a flattering nickname for a brave man or warrior, in the context of the fierceness of the she-wolf in protecting her young. Breedlove in that sense would be an English nickname describing the warrior of broad stature.

Brett is the ethnic name for a Breton, from the Old French word bret . The Bretons were Celtic-speaking folks who were driven from SW England to NW France in the 6th century by the Anglo-Saxon invaders. Some returned in the 11th century with William the Conqueror. As an English surname it is most commonly found in E. Anglia where many Bretons settled after the Conquest. Variations are Britt, Breton, Bretton, Brittain, Bret, Lebret, Breton, Bretonnier, Bretegnier, Bretagne , and Bretange . There are numerous cognative versions as well.

Breuls is a patronymic derivation from Old French breuil = marshy woodland, which later came to mean enclosed woodland, then later to mean cleared woodland, and both senses are used as definitions for the surname. Variations of the French place name are Breuilh, Bruel, Dubreuil, Dubrule .

Briant is a French cognate of the English patronymic name Bryan, from a Celtic given name Brian containing the element bre = hill and used in the transferred sense of "eminence." Bretons with the name accompanied William the Conqueror in his invasion of England, then went on to invade and settle in Ireland, mingling with the native Irish. Variations are Brian, Brien, Bryant, Briant ; Cognates include Briant, Briand, Briend (French). Briandet is a diminutive French form. Bryans, McBrien, Mac Briain, O'Brian, O'Bryan are patronymic forms.

Briggs : A North English and Scottish variant of Bridge , derived from the Old Norse bryggja . Bridge is an English Place name for the man who lived near a bridge, or an English Occupational name for the keeper of the bridge. Building and maintaining bridges was one of three main feudal occupations, the cost of which was occasionally offset by a toll charged to cross, and the keeper of the toll often acquired the surname. Variations are Bridges, Brigg, Briggs, Burge, Bridger , Bridgeman, Brigman . German cognitives include: Bruckmann, Bruckman, Bruck , Bruckner, Bruckner, Pruckner (Austria), Brugge, Brugger, Anderbrugge, Toderbrugge , Terbruggen (at the bridge). Van Bruggen is Flemish, and Van der Brug is Dutch. Other versions exist in additional countries.

Brink is a Low German, Dutch, and Danish place name for the man who lived by a pasture, and derived from Middle Low German brinc = meadow, pasture -- especially a raised meadow surrounded by a marsh or fen. Variations are Brinck, Brinken, Brinckman, Brinkman, Tenbrinck, Tombrinck, Zumbrink, Beimbrinke (German), Brink, Tenbrink, Van den Brink, Van de Brinck, Van de Brink, Brinckman, Brinkman (Dutch), Brinck, Brinch (Danish).

Bronowitz/Bronisz : Polish Patronymic Name... owitz and owicz are typical patronymic endings applied to a given name in several languages of Slavic origin. Bronowitz would be the 'son of Bron.' Bron, by the way, meant 'defender.' The surname Bronisz is taken directly from that given name.

Brown : is one of the more common surnames, as you might expect. Among the light-skinned English anyone with a darker complexion, brown hair, tendancy toward brown clothing, etc. were often described that way, and it stuck as a surname. There are a number of derivatives in many countries.

Browning is an English patronymic name from the Old English given name Bruning , which was originally a patronymic form of the name Brun , a nickname that referenced something brown, like brown hair, brown complexion, or brown clothing. The son of Brun was sometimes called Bruning, which occasionally evolved into Browning (as did the vocabulary word brun > brown) Brauning is the German cognate. Bruning (with an umlaut -u) is the Low German form. Bruning is the Dutch form. Bruynincks is the Flemish patronymic form.

Brumley is an English place name comprised of the Old English elements that meant "broom field" or "broom clearing" and described the man who lived in that area.

Bruner and Brunner are versions of the German patronymic name that was derived from the given name Brunheri , with elements that meant "brown, army."

Bruno : Brown is one of the more common surnames - it is the most common of the surnames derived from nicknames. Bruno is the form the name takes in Italy and occasionally in Germany.

Bryant is a variation of the English surname Bryan, from the Celtic given name Brian, containing the element bre = hill, used in the transferred sense of 'eminence.' Bearers of this name accompanied William the Conqueror in the invasion of England in 1066, and went on to invade and settle in Ireland in the 12th century. Variations are Brian, Brien, Bryant, Briant, Briand, Briant, Briend ; Briandet is a French diminutive. Bryans is a patronymic form, as is McBrien, and O'Brian, O'Bryan .

Buford is an English place name that described the crossing point of a river or stream, derived from the Old English word ford = crossing, ford -- along with the identifying location, in this case, likely "Bofa's ford." Bofa was a common medieval name of uncertain origin, and many locales were described by the man who lived nearby.

Buhl is a German nickname for a relative of an important man, who is not the head of the household, from Middle High German buole =kinsman. It is also occasionally known as a nickname for a lover, in the same context the word "paramour" is used.

Bulmer is an English Place name from a place in Essex that was recorded in the Domesday Book as Bulenemera . It is derived from the Old English elements bulena (the plural of bula = bull) + mere = lake, for a literal meaning of 'lake of the bulls.'

Burcham is a spelling variation of the English place name Bircham, which described the man from any of the so-named locations in Norfolk which derived their name from Ole English brc = land newly plowed + ham = homestead.

Burckhardt/Borrows/Burg/Burge/Burks/Burr/Burris : German Place Name...The principal surnames that refer to a fortified castle, an imposing structure, or the peasant who lived nearby were Borrows, Burg, Burge, Burks, Burr, and Burris -- which all came from the Old English word burg which meant fort. Borg is generally the designation used in Sweden, Norway, and Germany. Burckhardt was an especially well fortified castle in Germany at the time surnames were being adopted.

Burdge is likely derived from Old English brycg = bridge, the English place name for the man who lived near the bridge, or the occupational name for the bridgekeeper. The business of building and maintaining bridges was one of the three primary obligations of the feudal system members, along with bearing arms, and building/reinforcing the fortifications. In the dialects of Somerset, Dorset, and other S. English locations there was a switch of the -u- and -r- for several words that were adopted as surnames.

Burgdorfer is a German place name -- a compound name derived from the elements (Middle High German) burc = fortified town + dorfer (a German cognate of Old Norse) porp = hamlet, village.

Burgess : English Descriptive Name...taken by men of free birth, but not noble birth, who held substantial land for which they paid very little rent, and had no obligation to render services to the lord or king. Franklin and Freeman were names originating under the same circumstances.

The Old High German word burc = town added to the Old High German grav = count, magistrate created the compound status name burc-grav = town magistrate. Before you get all high-falootin' on us, in Medieval times it wasn't such a grand job, but eventually the name Graf (which survives as a German vocabulary word for magistrate) came to denote aristocracy, similar to Count, like Count Dracula, or Count Chocula.

Burlingame/Burling/Burlingham : Burling and Burlingame are corruptions of Burlingham, which was the 'settlement of Baerla's people,' and an English Place name.

Burney : English Place name from Bernay , Normandy which had its name originations in the Gaulish given name Brenno, or from Berney in Norfolk (recorded in the Domesday Book as Ralph de Bernai , a Norman who received land grants there). Occasionally, Burney is an Anglicized form of the given name Biorna , a Gaelic version of the Old Norse Bjarni (bearcub, warrior). Variations are Berney, Burnie, McBurney, MCBirney , and Mac Biorna .

Burnham : an English Place name from various locations; Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire, various villages in Norfolk, and Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. The name Burnham is derived from Old English burna = stream + ham = homestead. A man from one of the Burnham settlements might have that name as his identifying surname.

Burns : English Place name. The man who lived in the lone cottage by the small stream was called Burn, or Burns . The -S- was often added to names as an aid to pronunciation. Other names with the same origin are Brooke, Bourne, Beck , and Beckett .

Bernstein : German/Jewish Acquired name...Many German-Jewish names were simply the result of a desire for something pleasant-sounding when Jews in Europe were obliged to take surnames in the early 1800's. Those who picked such names usually were compelled to pay a hefty tariff to the government officials for the privilege -- Amber (Bernstein) is a color with positive connotations and it also served as a descriptive name for some early day settlements, which may have been located in an area noted by that color. Elsdon C. Smith, in his work American Surnames , suggests that Bernstein was generally adopted because of its pleasing sound.

Birrell is a English cognate of the French name Bourrel, derived from a diminutive version of Boure, which was used in several senses in Old French, including "cushion," "harness," "headdress," and "crest." The name would have identified the maker or seller of any of these items. Occasionally, Bourrel was the man who served as the judicial torturer, from Old French bourreau < bourrer = to maltreat, torture (it is literally translated as "wool carder." Variations are Bourreau, Borel, Borrel . Cognates include Burrell, Burrel, Borrel, Borrell, Birrell (English); Borelli, Borrelli (Italian).

Bleich is a German term that means "pale" and is a cognate form of the English name Blake, which was a nickname for the wan or pale man, from Old English blac = wan, pale. The English name Blake, however, is a combined name for blac = wan, and blaec/blac = black...and it is impossible to tell without evidence which form of the name applies in any individual case.

Breiling is a diminutive form of a cognate for the German place name Brhl, which described the man who lived on land that was cleared for use by burning, from Old French brusle = burnt in connection with a German verb. Breuel, Bruhler are variations. Cognate forms include Brogelmann, Brogel, Briel, Breil, Breilmann, Tombreul (Low German); Breuls, Breul, Van der Brule, Broghel, Breughel, Van Breugel, Van Breukelen (Flemish, Dutch); Bryl, Bryla (Polish).

Buchanan is a Scottish place name for a location near Loch Lomond (by the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond....) which was named for the Gaelic elements buth = house + chanain = "of the canon." The man who removed from there to another settlement was sometimes described by his place of origin.

Burris : The medieval castle was an imposing structure and was often used as a reference point for those who lived nearby. The English word burg meant fort, and the principal names describing the English man who lived near one were: Burg, Burge, Borrows, Burks, Burr, Burris . It's an English Place name.

Burton is an English place name derived from the Old English elements burh = fort + tun = enclosure, settlement. There are numerous locations in England called Burton and the man who emigrated from such a place would have been known to his new neighbors by his place of origin -- to distinguish him from locals bearing the same given name.

Butler is an English and Irish Occupational name for the wine steward, who was the chief servant of a medieval household, from Anglo-Norman French butuiller = bottle. In the households of nobility, the title denoted an officer of rank and responsibility.

Button is an English cognate of the French patronymic Bouton, a variation of the name Boudon from the given name Bodo = messenger. It is occasionally derived as a nickname for the man with a prominent boil or wart, from Old French boton = knob, lump. It was also sometimes found as a name for the maker of buttons, with the same OF origin, in the sense of knob = button. Boutonnier is a variation of Bouton (the buttonmaker). Button, Botten, Butner are English cognates.

Buxton is an English place name from Buxton in Derbyshire which was called Buchestanes in Medieval times, meaning bowing stones, derived from Old English bgan = to bow + stanes = stones. There were logan stones in the vicinity (boulders that rocked at the touch). Buckston, Buckstone are variations.

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.

Byrne is an Irish name that was Anglicized from O'Broin , which meant "descendant of Bran " whose name meant "raven." O'Byrne, O'Beirne, O'Berne, Berne, Beirne, Byrnes are variations.

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Cain : English nickname, derived from the Middle English word cane = reed or cane, and described the tall, thin man.

Calhoun is the Americanized version of Colhoun, found chiefly in Northern Ireland, derived from Colquhoun -- a Scottish place name for the location in former County Aberdeen first recorded as Colqhoun in 1246. It is derived from Gaelic coil/cuil = nook, corner + cumhann = narrow. It is pronounced ke'-hu:n. Swedish names that were descended from a Walter Colquhoun are Cahund, Caun, Gaun, Gahn , and Kharun.

Callicott : is a variation of Caldicott, an English Place name from any number of settlements originally spelled Caldecote, from Old English ceald = cold + cot = cottage or dwelling. Some suggest the name was in reference to unattended shelters for travelers, although in the Domesday Book (1086) many of these places had achieved some status. Variants are Caldicot, Caldecott, Caldecourt, Callicot, Callcott, Calcut, Caulcutt, Caulkett, Cawcutt, Corcut, Corkett, Corkitt, Coldicott, Coliccot, Collacott, Collecott, Collicutt, Colcott, Colcutt, Colkett, Clocott, Chaldcot , and Chalcot.

Callaway: English (of Norman origin): habitational name from Caillouet-Orgeville in Eure, France, named with a collective form of Old Northern French cail(ou) pebble

Calvert is an English occupational name for the man who tended cattle, from Old English calf = calf + hierde = herdsman. Calverd, Calvard are variations.

Camden : English Place name derived from the Old English elements campas = enclosure + denu = valley. Cambden is a variation.

Camp : is an English Place name that along with Field, Prindle , and Viles were references to the man whose home was the house in the open field (as opposed to the forest or some other recognizable feature).

Campbell is a Scottish nickname derived from Gaelic cam = crooked, bent + beul = mouth. Gillespie O Duibhne was the first to have borne the nickname, and founded clan Campbell at the beginning of the 13th century. Cambell, Camble are variations.

Cantello is a variation of Cantellow , an English place name of Norman origin. It described the man whose place of origin was one of the various similarly named locations in what is now called France, such as Canteleu (Seine-Maritime) or Canteloup (Calvados), which were named from Old Norman French cante = to sing + lou/leu = wolf. It was a name for the place where wolves were heard howling regularly. Variations are Cantello, Cantelo, Cantlow.

Cantrell is a diminutive form of the English and Scottish name Cant, the occupational name for the singer in a chantry, or a nickname for the man who loved to sing, from Old Norman French cant = song. Variations are Cauant, Chant, Canter, Chanter, Cantor, Canty, Cantie .

Cantwell is a placename that derived it's name from Old English personal name Cant + wella = stream, spring.

The placename Capshaw is derived from Old English cppe = cap + scga = copse, thicket -- and described the man who lived near the thicket on the headland.

Carberry : Scottish Place name in the parish of Inveresk, Lothian which was first recorded as Crebarrin.

Cardinalli is a version of the Italian surname Cardinali, which equates to the English and French name Cardinal -- a nickname derived from the name of a church dignitary. It was originally an adjective that meant 'vital' or 'crucial.' It may also have been derived as a name for the man who worked in the household of the Cardinal, but usually was given as a nickname for the person who always wore red, or who acted in a princely manner - like the Cardinal.

Cargile is a variation of the Scottish place name Cargill, from the so-named location near Stanley on the Tay, and derived from Old Welsh kaer = fort + geall = pledge, tryst, which is believed to have commemorated some now-lost event. Walter de Kergyl is the earliest bearer of the name, known through his signature on a document in 1260.

Carlisle is an English Place name for the town in Cumberland derived from the British ker =fort + Romano-British settlement named Luguvalium . How kerLuguvalium becomes Carlisle is yet another story. Variations of this name include Carlyle, Carlile , and Carlill .

Carnegie is a Scottish place name from a place near Carmyllie in what was then the county of Angus (now Tayside), which got its name from cathair an eige (Gaelic for "fort at the gap"). Carnegy is a variation.

Carpenter : At the time surnames were adopted, the average man built his own cottage and did not require the skill of the Carpenter, who usually was hired by those who were of some means, and required products only a craftsman could provide. It's an English Occupational name.

Carr : was a term used in old Scotland to describe 'low, wet ground' and the person who lived by that area was often identified by it. Carson is a Scottish Place name that describes the man who lived by the carr -- the low, wet ground.

Carrera : French Place Name from the Latin carraria = cart. It was the name used to refer to the man who `lived on the vehicle road' or busy thoroughfare where many carts traveled.

Carpinito : Spanish/Italian surnames are notorious for the number of spelling variants and pet forms. Carpineto is an Italian version of a French Place name for the dweller by a conspicuous 'witch elm' tree, or near a group of such trees, from Old French charme , derived from the Latin carpinus . Variants include Charmes, Charne, Carne, Decharme, Duecharme, Ducharne , and cognizant forms in addition to Carpinito/Carpineto (which are diminutive forms) are: Carpe, Ducarpe (Provencal), Carp, Carpin, Carpini, Carpino, Carpine , Carpene , and Carpano , among others (Italian).

Carruthers is a Scottish place name, for the so-named location near Ecclefechan in Dumfries. It was first noted in 1334 with the spelling Carrothres, and again in 1350 as Caer Ruther (from Briton ker = fort + a personal name meaning "red + king, ruler"). Variations are Carothers, Carrothers, Crothers, Carradice, Carrodus, Cardis, Cardus, Crowdace, Cruddace, Cruddas , and Caruth.

Carter is an English Occupational name for the transporter of goods by cart or wagon from Anglo-Norman French caretier, a derivative of Old French caret which originally implied 'carrier.' Occasionally it is a form of McArthur . Variants include Charter and cognates include Carreter, Carretier, Cartier, Charretier, Chartier, Chareter, Charater, Carratier, Carratie and Carretero .

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).

Carrin is a variation of the French occupational name Charron, from Old French charron = cart, and described the man who made carts. It is also derived from Caron, which was a given name among the Gauls from the element car = to love. Both versions developed variations that include Carron, Caron, Charron, Charon. Charrondier, Charrandier are cart maker variations.

Cartwright : is an English Occupational name. One of the primary specialized crafts along with CARPENTER was that of the Cartwright, who fashioned the wheeled carts that traversed the early roads.

Carlin, an Irish name Anglicized from Gaelic O Cearbhallain , meaning "descendant of Cearbhallan" a diminutive form of the given name Cearbhall, from cearbh = hacking.

Carlyon is a Cornish place name that described the man from any of the several so-named places in Cornwall and derived from Briton ker = fort + the plural of legh = slab.

Carroll is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Cearbhall, a given name of uncertain origin, but likely derived from cearbh = hacking...which probably described the use of a weapon or tool, as opposed to a violent cougher. Just kidding.

Case is an English occupational name for the maker of boxes and chests, from Anglo-Norman-French casse = case, container, derived from Latin capsa > capere = to hold, contain. When of Provencal origin, it is a variant of the name Casa. Among the Italians, Case was the maker or seller of cheese. Cash and Cashman are variations of the English version. Kas is a Dutch cognate. Cassirer and Kassierer are Jewish (Ashkenazic) cognates.

Casey is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic O Cathasaigh , meaning "descendant of Cathasach " whose name meant "vigilent, noisy." O'Casey is a variation.

Cash : is an English Place name that was given to the man who lived near the Cash -- or oak -- tree.

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).

Caswell : English Place name that identified the man who lived near a spring or stream. In his case the water was identified by the watercress nearby: Ole English cressa -- Cressawell, which evolved into Caswell.

Cates is an English Patronymic name from the Old Norse nickname Kati, which meant 'boy' and speculation that it was derived from the nickname Kate (from Catherine) should be tempered with the knowledge that the Kate nickname wasn't used for Catherine until after the Middle Ages, when Cates was already established as a surname.

Cayhill is an English place name derived from Old English ca = jackdaw (a European blackbird) + hyll = hill, and would describe the man who lived at the hill where the jackdaws were found.

Cesario is a form of Cesare, found among the Italians and taken from the given name Cesare, from the Roman family Caesar, a cognate form of the name Charles. Variations are Cesaro, Cesari, Cesar .

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 .

Chance is an English nickname for the inveterate gambler or for the man who survived a distaster through a remarkable bit of luck. It is derived from Anglo Norman French cheaunce = good fortune. Cance, Chaunce are variations.

Chandler : The Chandler worked with wax, and in addition to making candles, he fashioned wax objects or icons that were used in church offerings. Chandler is an English Occupational name.

Chapman is an English occupational name for the merchant or trader, derived from Old English ceapmann < ceap = barter + mann = man. Chipman, Chapaper, Chipper, Cheeper , are variations. Cognates include Chapelle, Capell (French); Capela (Provencal); Capella, Capelle (Italian); Capilla (Spain); Capela (Portugal); Capel, Van Keppel, Van Keppel (Dutch); Van de Capelle (Flemish).

Charbonneau is a variation of the surname Carbonell, found among the English, French, and in Catalan as a nickname for the man with dark hair or a swarthy complexion. the term carbon was used in Anglo-Norman-French, Old French, and Old Catalan to mean charcoal. English variations are Charbonell, Shrapnel ; in France it is also found as Carbonnel, Carboneau, Charbonel, Charbonneaux, Cherbonneau and Charbonnet; in Catalan, a variation is Carbo. Italian cognates include Carbone, Carbonelli, Carbonetti , and Carbonini.

Karle is a variation of Charles, a French, Welsh and English surname, from the Germanic given name Carl = man. 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 . 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).

Chatham is an English place name for the so-name location in Kent or Chatham Green in Essex, which appear in the Domesday book as Ceteham and Cetham. The Breton elemenet ceto = forest + Old English ham = homestead. The man who came from the place called Chatham often ended up with that as an identifying surname.

Cheesman ~ In the Tower of Record of London, there is a deed from Alan and Alicia Chesmongre, dated AD 1286, granting the land upon which the College and Priory of Hastings, Sussex, England were built. A cheese mongre sold cheese ~ Chees(e)man (the cheese merchant).

Keesee is a variation of Keese, which is a Low German cognate of the occupational name known as Cheeseman in English-speaking countries, which described the maker or seller of cheese. The English word is derived from Old English cyse = cheese + mann = man. Cheesman, Cheseman, Chesman, Cheasman, Chiesman, Chisman, Chessman, Chismon, Cheese, Chiese, Cheesewright, Cheeseright, Cheswright, Cheeswright, Cherrett, Cherritt are variations of the English form. Other cognate forms are Ksmann, Kser, Keser, Ks, Kse (German); Kaasman, Kaas, Keesman (Low German); Caesman (Flemish); Kaes, Kaas, Kaaskooper (Dutch); Keizman, Keyzman (Jewish); Chasier, Casier, Chazier, Chesier, Chezier, Chazerand (French); Casari, Casaro, Caseri, Caser, Casieri, Casiero, Case (Italian); Queyeiro, Queyos (Portuguese).

Cherrier is likely a variation or cognate of the French occupational name Cerisier, the name given the man who lived near a cherry tree or own a cherry orchard, from Old French cerisier = cherry tree. Cherry is an English cognate of the name, which also appears in several other languages.

Chrystal is a variation of the Scottish patronymic name Cristal, derived as a pet form of the name Christopher (bearer of Christ). Other variations are Crystall, Chrystall, Crystol, Kristall .

The old English term cyrice meant church, and hyll evolved into our modern word "hill." Cyrice-hyll was the name of several places in medieval England, including Devon, Oxfordshire, Somerset, and Worcestershire. The man who originally lived at one of those locales name Churchill , but later moved to another was known to his new neighbors by describing where he was from -- as opposed to someone with the same first name who was a local lad.

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.

Claxton is similarly derived, from a combination of the Old English given name Clacc + tun = settlement, enclosure. It described the settlement of the man known by the name of Clacc.

Clayton : is an English Place name that incorporates the most common ending found among English names -ton. In Old English, tun was the word for town, and it was used with other descriptions to pinpoint settlements. Clayton, or Clay-town, was the settlement on the soil of clay.

Clevenger is likely an English occupational name for the wood splitter, from the Old English elements cloefan = to split, cut + -er as an agent suffix. (See also Clover). I realize that doesn't account for the "g" but there are many names which had intrusive consonents added as an aid to pronunciation or by association. For example, the similar name Cleverly is derived from Old English clif = cliff + leah = wood, clearing...which created Clevely, but is generally found as Cleverly by association with the more commonly found word "clever."

Clifton is an English Place name, as determined by the suffix - ton - which originated in the Old English term tun meaning "settlement" or "enclosure." The Old English word clif meant "slope" which makes Clifton a "settlement on the slope," and a man who lived there might be described that way. There are towns all through England by the name of Clifton.

Cline: see Klein.

Clingan, Clingen : A not uncommon Galloway surname, from (Mac)Clingan , q.v. William Clingane in Ladieland, 1658 (Dumfries). Edward Clingzean in Castletoun, 1680 (Kirkcudbright). Alexander Clingane in Kirkcudbright signed the Test, 1684 (RPC., 3. ser. x, p. 248). Clingen 1684.

Clover is a variation of the English occupational name Cleaver, which described the man who kept a butcher shop, or split wood using a wedge and hammer. It is derived from Old English cleofan = split, cut. Cleever is another variation.

Cobb : English Patronymic name that is derived from Jacob 'the supplanter' or 'may God protect' (depending on whom is asked...) Cobb is a pet form of the name Jacob.

Cochran is a spelling variation of Cochrane, a Scottish place name found in the Paisley district, near Glasgow. It may have gotten its name from Old Welch coch = red, but the earliest known spelling was recorded this way: Couran (which sort of shoots a hole in the coch = red theory. It may be that the Couran was a phonetic spelling from a dialtectic pronunciation.) Cochren, Colqueran are other spelling variations. Cochrane is the name of the Earls of Dundonald, taken by William Blair when he married into the Cochrane family. Cochrane has its own distinctive highland kilt, although some Cochranes are descended from ancestors who married into the McDonald clan which wears the Clan Donald tartan.

Coggins :Irish/Welsh place name derived from a spot near Cardiff, which is a Welsh word for bowl, and likely described the terrain at the time.

Coghill is a Scottish version of the Danish name Kogel for the maker of hoods, or someone who wore one regularly.

There is a group of villages in Somerset that were named for the British river Cocker, from a word that meant 'crooked.' The Old Irish word cucar = crooked, awkward -- the river was named for a similar word from the Breton/Old Welsh languages. The man who originated in one of the villages so-named was called Coker. Cockerham is another name derived from a village along the river, with that location named with the elements Cocker + (Old English) ham = homestead.

Coldren is a variation of the English, French, and Jewish (Seradic) occupational name which described the maker of large cooking vessals, from Old French cauderon = cauldron < Latin caldarium = hot bath. Variations include Cauldron, Cowdron, Coldron (English); Chaudron, Codron (French); Kalderon (Jewish). Cognate forms include Calderon, Calero, Caldera (Spain); Caldeira (Portugal); Caldairoux, Caldairou, Caldayroux, Caldeyroux (Provencal); Calderone, Calterone, Caldroni, Caldaro (Italian). Diminutive forms are Chaudret, Chaudrelle, Jodrellec, Calderonello .

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.

Collard is derived in a round-about way from the given name Nicholas. In several European languages where the accent tends toward the second syllable in Ni-chol-as, the first syllable is eventually lost due to lazy pronunciation. It's called aphetic loss, for example, when the word esquire becomes squire over time. Collard was derived as a pejorative form of Coll . Other variations are Colle (French), Cola and Colao (Italian), Colle (Dutch), Col and Colla (Flemish).

Colley/Coley/Collie : English Nickname from W. Midlands derived from the Old English word colig which meant `dark' and was sometimes used to describe a swarthy or darker skinned man.

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.

Collison became a surname in a round-about way. Nicholas was a common and popular name during the Middle Ages. A pet form of the name evolved as Coll, and was often found as a given name. Collin evolved as a pet or diminutive form of Coll. Collison is a variation of Collinson, meaning the "son of Collin." Collis, Collyns , are other forms.

Comerford is an English place name composed of the Old English elements camb = comb + -er = agent suffix + ford = ford, crossing. The primary method of untangling wool was a process called carding, and combing was alternative method that caused the wool fibers to lie parallel to one another, producing smooth cloth without nap. The crossing point of the river or stream was the ford, and the crossing near the comber was the comber-ford or Comerford.

Compton is an English Place name taken by the man from any of the English towns of that name, which were named from the Old English word cumb = short, straight valley + tun = enclosure. Cumb-tun would literally be "enclosure in the short straight valley" with an enclosure being a protective fort or stockade-type barrier within which several families resided.

Connolly is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic O Conghalaigh , which meant 'descendant of Conghalach, whose name meant 'valiant.' Variations are O'Connolly, O'Connally, Connelly, Conneely, Conally, O'Conely, Conley .

Conway : Welsh Place Name from Conwy, a town in N. Wales named for the Conwy River, which was named from an Old Brit term that meant `reedy.' It is also sometimes derived from the Scottish place Conway in Beauly Parish and was recorded in 1215 as Coneway. Conway when descended from Ireland usually an Anglicized version of Mac Commidhe , a name which meant `head smashing.'

Cook is the English occupational name for the cook, the man who sold cooked meats, or the keeper of an eating house. It is derived from Old English coc = cook. Cooke and Coke are variations.

Coomer/Coomber : English Place Name...Coomer is a variation of Coomber from the Old English cumb which was a short, straight, valley.

Many surnames were Americanized when the recent arrivals wanted to blend in with their established neighbors, and Coons, Coonce , and others are examples of spelling that was less reflective of their origin. Konrad is a German given name composed of the elements kuoni = daring, brave + rad = counsel. It was extremely popular during the Middle Ages, and as a result led to a number of surnames and variations. Kunrad, Kuhnert, Kunert, Kundert, Kuhnhardt Kuhnt, Kundt, Kurth are variations. Cognates include Konert, Kohnert, Kohrt, Kordt, Kort (Low German); Koenraad (Dutch), Kunrad, Konrad (Czech); Kondrat (Polish); Corradi, Corrado, Cunradi, Cunrado (Italian). Diminutive forms include Kuhn, Kuhne, Kuhndel, Kiehnelt, Kaindl, Kainz, Kunz (from which Coon and Coonce were derived, among others), Kuntz, Kienzelmann, Kunze (German); Cohr, Keuneke, Keunemann, Keuntje, Kohneke, Konneke, Kunneke, Kohnemann , and others (Low German); Koene, Keune (Dutch); Kuna, Kunes, Kunc (Czech); Kondratenkko, Kondratyuk (Ukrainian). There are other versions of this name as well.

Coop : There are several variations of Coop, the English Occupational name that describes the maker of wooden barrels. Cupp, Coope , and Cooper are the most common.

Cooper is the primary spelling of the English version of the Occupational surname for the barrelmaker or repairer of wooden vessals. The widespread adoption of this surname is testimony to the fact that the cooper was one of the valued specialist trades in the Middle Ages all through Europe. English variants include Copper, Coupar, Cupper, Kooper, Coope, Coupe , and Cooperman (among others --always) and cognates are Kiefer (German), Kupper (Low German), Kupker (Frisian), De Cuyper, Cuyp (Flemish), Kuijper, Kuiper , Kuijpers, Kuypers, Cuijpers, Cuypers (Dutch).

Colson/Coulson/Collson : English Patronymic Name...Coulson originates from a very popular Middle Ages given name - Nicholas. Cole was a pet form of Nicholas used in England (primarily) and Coulson is a Scottish/Irish variation on a pet form of Nicholas.

Coe is an English nickname from the jackdaw, from a local pronunciation of Kay , and originated primarily in the Suffolk and Essex areas. Coo is a variation.

Condon is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic given name Condun , which was itself changed to Gaelic from Anglo Norman "de Caunteton" a place reference to Caunton in Nottinghamshire derived from the Old English given name Calunod (where d is the old English character thorne) comprised of calu = bald + nod (again, the thorne character) = daring. Congden is a variation.

Connor is an Irish patronymic surname, Anglicized from the Gaelic O'Conchobhair , which means "descendant of Conchobhar" whose name was composed of the elements "cu" = hound + "cobhar" = desiring. In an Irish legend, Conchobhar was an Ulster king who adopted Cuchulain. Variations include O'Connor, Connors.

Conner is derived from Middle English connere, cunnere = inspector, from cunnen = to examine, from Old English cunnan = to know. It was the occupation of the man who inspected for standards, including weights and measures.

Copeland : originates in Cumberland county England and cope-land is "bought land," a way that the man living there was referenced in early times.

Coppe is the Middle English word derived from Old English copp = summit, which was drawn in a transferred sense from copp = head. It described the man who lived near the top of the hill, or as a nickname for the man with a large head. Copp is the most commonly found form of the surname.

Corder : is an English Occupational name for the maker of string, and occasionally as a nickname for the maker of ties.

Cordes is an English cognate of the French occupational name for the maker of cord or string, or sometimes it derived as a nickname for the man who always wore decorative ties or ribbons. It comes from the Old French corde = string, from Latin chorda > Greek khorde. Cordier, Cordie, Lecordier are variants of the French occupational name. Coard, Cord, Cords, Coxrder , and Cordier are English cognates. The name is found in Spanish speaking countries as Cuerda.

Corlies is likely a variation of the English place name Corley, which was derived from the so-named place in Warwickshire, which was recorded in the Domesday book as Cornelie . It is derived from the Old Englsh elements corna > crona = crane + leah = woods, clearing. When of Irish origin, Corley is occasionally a variation of Curley, an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Toirdhealbhaigh .

Cornwell is an English regional name from the County of Cornwall, named for an Old English tribal name Cornwealas , from Kernow -- the name the Cornish people used to describe themselves, possibly meaning "horn, headland" + wealas = strangers, foreigners. Occasionally, Cornwell is a place name from Cornwell in Oxfordshire, from Old English corn < cron, cran = crane + wella = spring, stream. Cornwall and Curnow are variations.

Cosby is an English place name for the man who came from the so-named location in Leicestershire, derived from Cossa (an Old English given name) + Old Norse byr = farm, settlement.

Cotgreave is an English place name derived from the Old English elements cot = cottage + groefe = brushwood, thicket. It described the man who lived in the cottage by the brushy thicket. Greave is a place name that is often derived from the place in Lancashire by that name, and was used to describe the man who moved from that place. Greve, Greaves, Greves, Greeves are variations of Greave. Cotter is a commonly found surname for the man who lived in the cottage by service rather than rent during the medieval feudal system, which is derived from OE cot = cottage.

Coster is generally an English occupational name for the grower or the seller of a large type of apple called the costard, which was a ribbed sort of fruit, and derived its name from that fact from the Latin term costa = rib, side. When of known Dutch ancestry, the name Coster is a cognate form of the name Kster, the Middle High German occupational name for the church sexton.

Cotter : English Occupational name from Middle English cotter a status term during the feudal times which described the tenant farmer or serf who planted only five to ten acres and lived in a cottage on the farm and payed for his place by service rather than rent. There are several variations for the name of this modest farmer, including Cottier, Cotman, Kotter, Kother, Kotter, Kother, Kather, Cotterel, Cotterell, Cottrell, Cotterill, Cothererill, Cotterel, Cottereau , and Cottarel .

Cottle : English Occupational name which described the tenant farmer or serf who planted only five to ten acres and lived in a cottage on the farm. There are several variations for the name of this modest farmer.

Cotton : Cotton originated from the village naysayer, who always said "I don't COTTON to that idea!" Just kidding . It also doesn't have anything to do with the fluffy white stuff. Cot was a shortened form of cottage, and was used as the ending of many English surnames such as Wolcott, etc. and in a diminutive form with the suffix -on the English Place name Cotton was derived. The man who came to be known by that name lived near the small cottage, or at the cottages.

The name Couch is primarily a Cornish name that served as a nickname for the red-haired man, from cough = red. As an English occupational name, it described the medieval man whose work was creating beds or bedding, from Old French couche = bed.

Couldridge : Just as the name 'Colegate' designates a 'cool gap in the mountain range,' the name Couldridge is an English Place name that designates a 'ridge of mountains where it is cold.' Spellings of names were not standardized until the 1800's and -o- and -ou- were often mixed with the same intent.

Coupar , when not a variant of Cooper, is a Scottish Place name from Cupar in Fife, likely of Pictish origin, with an unknown meaning. There are also locations Cuper Angus, and Cupar Maculty, but no known surnames are derived from these. The first known bearer of the place name in Scotland was Solomone de Cupir , who was a witness to a charter in 1245.

Cowell : English Place Name...In Merry Old England they stayed out 'til the cu 's came home, and pastured the milque cu on the hyll. Cu-hyll -- or cowhill -- was a reference to the places in Lancashire and Gloucester where cattle grazed on hillsides. Some people from that area took it as a surname.

Cox is an English Patronymic name taken from the suffix applied to a good many given names to create a pet form of the name. In medieval times, the term cock was used to denote the young man who strutted proudly like a rooster, and it came to designate any young man. Hancock and Alcock are examples of names which had the term attached as a suffix, which eventually came into its own as a given name or nickname. Cox is a patronymic version of Cock.

Crabtree is an English place name that described the man who lived by a prominent crabapple tree, derived from Middle English crabbe (which was of Old Norse origin). Crabbe is another version of the name.

Craddock/Cradduck : Welsh nickname from the Old Welsh term caradog, which meant `amiable.'

Craft : is a variant of Croft, an English Place name for the man who lived by an arable enclosure, normally adjoining a house. It is derived from Old English croft , with variations Crofts, Craft (s), Cruft (s), and Crofter . Occasionally it is a place name from Crofts in Leicestershire, which got its name from the Old English croeft = craft or skill, and likely referenced a mill located there.

Craighead is a Scottish place name that described the man who lived at the 'head-end' of the crag, or rocky outcropping. It is derived from Gaelic crg = steep rock, which was 'borrowed' into Middle English as 'cragg.'

Crane is an English nickname from the bird, derived from Old English cranuc = crane, heron (heron wasn't a separate word until the 1300's). It described the tall, thin man with the long legs. German cognates include Karnch, Kranich, Krohn ; the Low German form is Krahn ; Dutch = Kraan; Flemish = De Craen . German diminutive forms are Krnkel, Krenkel .

Crawford is an English, Irish, or Scottish name that described the man who emigrated from the medieval locale called Crawford (there were several such places -- Dorset and Lancashire, England, for example, and Strathclyde, Scotland as another). The locations got their name from Old English crawa = crow + ford = ford, river crossing. Variations are Crauford, Crawfurd, Craufurd, Crawforth .

Crawley is an English place name that described the man who lived near the woods where the crows were, or at the clearing in that woods, from Old English crawa = crow + leah = wood, clearing.

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.

Crim : English Place Name...Those who took the name Crim kept their dwelling near a small pond or pool.

Crisp : English Nickname for the man with curly hair, from an Old English term. Variations include Crispe, Chrisp, Cripps, Crippes , and others.

Crumlick may be an Americanized spelling of the Flemish perjorative nickname Crommelinck , which described a crippled man, or man with a bent back. The English cognate form is Crome from Old English crumb = bent, crooked. Occasionally, Crome is an occupational name for the maker of hooks, from the Middle English word cromb = hook, crook. Croom is a place in East Yorkshire, and another locale called Croome in Worcestershire -- the man from those locations would sometimes be called Crome. Variations of Crome are Cromb, Crumb, Crump, Cramp, Crimp . Cognate forms include Krump, Krumpp (German); Krom (Dutch); De Crom, Crommelinck (Flemish). Diminutive forms also exist in several languages.

Cromie is a variation of Crombie, a Scottish place name from the so-named location in the former county of Aberdeenshire, now in the Grampian region, but derived from the same Brittonic elements as Abercrombie . Cromie is found in Northern Ireland primarily. Other variations are Crumbie, Crummie, Crummey, Crummay .

Cronin is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name O'Croinin , which meant "descendant of Croinin" whose name was a diminutive form of cron = swarthy. Crone is a variation.

Cross : English Place name for the man who lived near the stone cross set up by the roadside or marketplace, from Old Norse kross . Variations are Cruse, Cruise, Crouch, Crutch, Crutcher, Crossley, Norcross . Cognitives include De(la)Croix, Croix , (French); Croux , Lacroux, Lacrouts, De(la)croux (Provencal); Croce , DellaCroce, Croci (Italian); Cruz (Spanish); Kreutzer, Kreuziger (German); Vercruysse (Flemish), Krzyzaniak (Polish), and Van der Kruijs (Dutch).

Crouse is a variation of the name Cruise , an English nickname derived from Middle English crouse = bold, fierce. Cruse, Crewes, Crews, Cruwys are variations.

Crowder is a variation of the English occupational name Crowther, for the man who made his living playing the musical instrument called the crowd (Middle English croude , the Welsh called it the crwth ). It was a popular stringed instrument of the Middle Ages. Other variations are Crother, Crewther; Crothers is a patronymic form.

Crowell : is an English Place name from Oxfordshire and denoted the man who lived by the "crow's stream."

Crowley : is an Irish Patronymic name, and it means 'grandson of Cruadhlaoch ,' whose name means 'tough hero.'

Crozier is an English and French occupational name for the man who carried the cross or bishop's crook during a church processional, from Old French croisier < crois = cross. Variations are Crosier, Croser, Croisier, Croizier . Cognates are Crousier, Crouzier, Crousie (Provencal).

Cuddihy is an variation of the Irish name Cody, Anglicized from the Gaelic Cuidighthigh , which meant 'descendant of Cuidightheach' whose name meant "helpful person." Variations are Coady, O'Codihie, O'Kuddyhy, O'Cuddie, Cuddihy, Cidihy, Cuddehy, Quiddihy .

Cumb is the Old English word for valley and that -ie is found as a diminutive suffix on occasion, and as such, Cumbie could mean 'little valley.' Place names were derived in such a fashion to describe a man by the location where he lived.

Cunningham : Scottish/ Irish Place/ Patronymic Name...Cunningham is a polygenetic name (it has more than one source) Cunningham is a Scottish place name that described the man from the location near Kilmarnock and first recorded in 1153 as Cunegan, a word with Breton origins. The spelling with -ham added has its earliest known mention in 1180. When of Irish origin, Cunningham is the Anglicized form of O' Cuinneagain , meaning 'descendant of Cuuinneagan' a personal name derived as a diminutive form of Conn = leader, chief. Cuninghame, Cuningham, Cunninghame, Coningham, Conyngham are variations of the Scot version. Conaghan, Cunnigan, Cunihan, Cunnahan, Kennigan, Kinnegan, Kinaghan, Kinnighan , and Kinihan are variations of the Irish form.

Curry : English place name in Somerset named for the river Curry.

Cusack is an Irish place name from Cussac in Guienne, derived from the personal name Cussius + -acum (a local suffix). The name is present in Ireland, but apparently died out in England. A Gaelic version is de Ciosg .

Cushing is a variation of the English and French nickname Cousin , from Middle English and Old French cousin, which during the Middle Ages had the meaning of "relative, kinsman." As a surname, it would have designated the relative of someone well-known or famous in the neighborhood. Cousen, Cosin, Cussen, Cuzen, Cushing, Cushion, Cushen, Cusheon are variations. Cousi, Couzi, Couzy are Provencal cognates; Cugini is the Italian version; Cousyn Couzyn are found among the Flemish/Dutch.

D

Dagwell is an English place name derived from Old English dygel > diegol = secret, deep + wella = spring, stream -- and described the man who lived by the deep spring or stream.

Dale is an English place name for the man who lived in the valley, from Middle English dale = dale, valley, from Old English doel and Old Norse dalr. It is also a name that described the man who emigrated from any of the several locations by that name. Daile, Dales, Deal are variations. Cognates include Tal, Thal, Thaller, Thaler, Thalmann (German); Dahl, Dahler, Dallmann, Dalman, Tendahl (Low German); Van den Dael, Van den Daele, Va Daalen, Daelman, Daalman (Flemish); Van Dael, Dahl, Dall (Dutch); Dahlen, Dahlin. Dahlman is a Swedish version, and numerous ornamental names of the Swedes use Dahl as a compound element.

Dalton is an English place name, from any of the so-named locations in Cumbria, Durhamshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and others -- derived from Old English dl = valley + tun = settlement, enclosure. Daulton, Daughton, Dawton, Daton are variations.

Dancy is a variation of Dansie, the English place name (Norman origin) with the fused preposition de, from Anizy in Calvados, which was recorded in 1155 as Anisie. The man from there was de'Anisie , which was fused into Dansie. Dansey, Dancy, Dancey, Dauncey, Densey, Densie, Denzey, Dinzey are variations.

Danehl is a German variation of the English, French, Portuguese, German, Polish, and Jewish surname Daniel, derived from the Hebrew given name Daniel, which means "God is my judge." It was an extremely popular name during medieval times and as a result has numerous variations as a surname. English variants include Daniell, Danniel, Danniell, Danell, Dannel, Dennell, Denial ; French versions are Deniel, Daniau, Deniau, Deniaud ; German versions include Denigel, Dangel, Dangl, Dannhl, Denehl, Dennehl, Danneil ; Jewish variations are Danielli, Danieli, Daniely, Danielski, Danielsky . Cognates include Danis, Dany (Provencal); Ianieli, Danielli, Daniele, Daniello, Danello, Danielli (Italian); Danihel, Danhel .

Dailey is a variation of Daly, which is the primary Anglicized form of the Gaelic O Dalaigh , which meant 'descendant of Dalach' whose name was derived from dal = meeting, assembly. O'Daly, Daley, Daily, Dailey, Dally, Dalley are variations.

Daniel/Daniell/Daniels : English, French, Portuguese, German, Polish and Jewish Patronymic name, from the Hebrew given name Daniel (meaning God is my judge ). Variations are too numerous to list, but will be added as queries concern them.

Darby : English Place name taken from a Middle Ages term that described "where the wild animals are" and the man who lived nearby could easily be described by that surname.

Darcy most commonly is an English place name of Norman origin, with a fused preposition de' attached to Arcy, a town in La Manche. The man who originated in Arcy was identified by his new neighborsby his former place of residence.
When of Irish origin, Darcy is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O' Dorchaidhe , which means "descendant of the dark one," from the gaelic word dorcha = dark, gloomy. However, there are Darcy families in Ireland who are of Norman descent, as the name was introduced to the island early on, by Sir William D'Arcy and Sir John D'Arcy (circa 1330).
Darcey , D'Arcy are variations of the English form; O'Doroghie, O'Dorghie, O'Dorchie, O'Dorcey, Darky are variations of the Irish form.

Dare is a variation of the English patronymic name Dear , from the Middle English given name Dere < Old English Deora = beloved. Occasionally, Dear was a nickname from Old English deor = wild animal or the adjective form that meant "wild, fierce." By Middle English, the adjective wasn't used much and the word evolved to modern English's deer. Variations are Dare, Deare, Deere, Deer, Dearman, Dorman, Durman . Cognates are Teuer, Tayer, Taier, Tajer, Teuerstein, Teyerstein (Jewish); Thier, Dier (German); De Diere (French); Duursma (Frisian); Dyhr (Danish).

Daugherty is another Anglicized version of the Scottish and Irish Patronymic name O' Dochartaigh "descendant of Dochartach " which was a nickname meaning 'unlucky' or 'hurtful.' The most common form of the name as Anglicized from the Gaelic is Doherty . Docharty is the common Scottish variation.

Davenport : English Place Name...Many of the surnames that originated in England came from places where the progenitor lived... The name Davenport was first used in England's county Cheshire, where the Dane river flowed. Davenport was the 'town on the Dane River' and became the name of some who made their homes there.

David/Davis/Davies : was the patron saint of Wales, and the name was popular throughout early Britain...as a result, there a many surnames derived from the given name David, including Davis, and Davies as the Welsh equivalent.

Davidson is a patronymic form of the Welsh, Scottish, English, French, Portuguese, Jewish, and Czechoslovakian name David , from Hebrew David = beloved. Variations are Daud, Doud (English); Davitt, Devitt, Daid, Dade, Taaffe (Irish); Dewi, Dafydd, Daffey, Taffie, Taffee (Welsh); Davy (French); Davidai, Davida, Davidy, Davidman, Dawidman (Jewish). Other patronymic forms are Davids, Davidge, Davage, Davies, Davis, Davys, Davson, Davidson, Davisson, Davison (English, Scottish); McDavitt, McDevitt, McCavitt, McKevitt, McDade, McDaid, McCaet (Irish); McDavid (Scottish); Davidescue (Rumanian); Davidsen (Low German); Davids (Dutch); Davidsen (Danish); Davidsson (Swedish). There are also several dozen Jewish patronymic forms.

Davies : English Patronymic name derived as a diminutive form of the given name David.

Day is an English and Irish name that originates in several forms: as an English variation of David -- a common pet form of the name; as a patronymic name derived from the Middle English given name Daye from Old English dg = day or the given name Dgberht ; as an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from Deghaidh , meaning "descendant of Deghadh " whose name meant "good luck." Daye, Dey, D'Eye, Daykin, Dakin, Deyes, Dayson, Deason, Dayman are other forms of the name.

Dazey : is a variant spelling of Deasy , an Irish Patronymic name from the Gaelic Deiseach , a nickname for a member of 'Dei's community.'

Dean is an English place name for the man who lived in the valley, from the Middle English dene = valley. Deen, Dane, Deane, Deaner , and Denner are variations. See next entry.

The Old French word d(e)in , was derived from the Latin term decanus , which meant leader of ten men (from decem = ten). Dein evolved into Middle English as deen , which is now represented as dean. As a surname, Dean is an English nickname that described someone who was thought to resemble a dean, who in medieval times was the leader of a religious chapter at the cathedral -- or occasionally, the term dean was used to describe a servant of that official. Deen, Dane, Dain, Deane, Deaner, Denner, Adeane, Atherden, A'Deane are variations. The nickname was also used in other countries and languages, and cognate forms include Doyen, Ledoyen (French); Dega, Degan, Degas (Provencal); Degan, De Gan (misdivided); Dechandt, Dechant (German); De Deken (Flemish, Dutch).

Decrow isnt listed under that spelling or DeCreau in any of my sources, however -- the prefix De is generally found among Dutch as meaning "the" as an attachment to nicknames or occupational names. DeCroes is the Dutch nickname for the curly-headed man, and is a cognate of the German nickname Kraus. Other Dutch versions are Croes, Croese, Kroese, Kroeze .

Deeley is an English surname commonly found in the Birmingham area that is believed to be a variant of Daly, which is an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic O' Dalaigh , meaning 'descendant of Dalaigh, whose name meant 'meeting, assembly.'

Degenstein is literally translated as "sword stone" from German degen = sword, rapier + stein = stone. Degenschein , also found as Degenszejn, Degenszajn , is translated literally as "sword shine."

DeHart is likely a spelling variation of DeHerdt , a Flemish cognate of the surname Hart , which is a nickname meaning "stag" from Old English heorot , which the medieval timers used to describe someone they thought resembled the male deer in some fashion.

DeLeMaitre would be translated as "of the master" or "from the master." Maitre is a French cognate of Master, the English nickname for the man who behaved in a masterful manner, or was skilled at a trade. The term Master (or Maitre) also was applied to some freeholders of land who had others who tilled for them, rather than doing it themselves. Meystre is a variation of Master. Cognates include Maistre, Maitre, Lemaistre, LeMaitre, Maitrier (French); Mestre, Mistre, Mestrier (Provencal); Maestri, Maestro, Maistri, Maistro (Venetia); Magistri, Magistro, Mastro, Marro, Mascio, Lo Mastro (Italian); Maestre, Maeso (Spain); Meister (German). There are numerous diminutive and patronymic forms as well.

Denman is an English place name which described the man who lived in a valley. It comes from the Middle English term dene = valley. When Denman is of known Jewish ancestry the above doesn't apply, but the exact meaning isn't clear.

Dent : English Place Name...it comes from 'Dent' hill in Yorkshire, England. The first to use it as a surname lived in that area.

Derriman is a variation of the English name Dearman , which is itself a variation of the English patronymic name Dear , from the Middle English given name Dere < Old English Deora , a nickname that meant "beloved." Dearman and Derriman are literally translated as "dear man" or "beloved man." Other variations are Dare, Deare, Deer, Deere, Dorman, Durman .

Deutsch is the ethnic name applied to people in a mixed population area who spoke German rather than Slavic. The Middle High German word was tiusch , from Old High German diutsik < d iot, deot = people, race. Variations are Deusch, Deutscher, Dutsch, Dutz , Daeutschmann, Deutschlander, Deutschman, Deitschman, Dayczman, Deichman, Taitz, Teitzman .

Deveraux is a spelling variation of Devereux, the English (Norman) place name which resulted from the fused preposition -de- added to the location Evreux, which is located in Eure, Normandy. The name would have been recorded as in this example: John de'Evreux , which meant, John-from Evreux. Other variations are Devereaux, Deveraux, Devereu, Deveroux, Deverose.

DeWeil is a place name that described a man from a location called Weil, with De as a common prefix meaning "from" or "of." Weil is a German place name from any of the so-named locations in Baden, Wurttemberg, or Bavaria, originating from the Latin villa = country house, estate. Weill, Weile are German variations, Weill, Weiler, Weiller are variations found among those of Jewish heritage.

Dewhurst is an English place name, from a so-named location in Lancashire, from the adjective dewy + the Middle English word hyrst = wooded hill. Dewhirst and Jewhurst are variations.

Dibley : is an English Patronymic name, based on a corruption of the name Theobald (folk, bold), which when said often and quickly enough, became Dibald and formed the basis for the surnames Dibble and Dibley .

Dickenson is an English patronymic name derived from a diminutive form of the English and Scottish surname Dick , which was a pet form of the name Richard. Any of several who bore the name became known as Dicken , and the son of the man with that name was Dicken's son, or Dickenson.

There was a Medieval given name Dillo , derived from Old English dilegian = destroy, spoil -- that may have been shortened to creating a pet form of the name Dill , or it may have been derived from Old English dyle = dill, medicinal herb -- for the man who grew or used dill in a medicinal fashion.

The name Dimmick (also spelled Dimick, Dimmock, Dimock, Demick, Dymoke (the original spelling), and Dimmuck , is derived from a village on the Welsh Border called Dymoke; from Welsh Ty mocce , meaning pigsty. The earliest person bearing this name is Thomas de Dymoke, who is listed in Domesday book. Some sources, such as earlier editions of Burke's Peerage, try to derive the name from David ap Madoc, a famous welsh nobleman, but close inquiry does not support such a claim. One can understand, however, that it would be more desireable to trace one's name back to nobility rather than back to a pigsty. However, one of the earliest badges borne by a Dymoke shows the head of a pig, so it is probable that at least in the middle ages the family was cognizant of the name's origin. Charles Wm. Dimmick

Dinse is a German cognate of the English surname Dennis , which is patronymic from the medieval given name Dennis, from the Latin Dionysius and the Greek Dionysios , which meant 'follower of Dionysos.' The big-D was the eastern god introduced to the classic list late in the game. St. Denis was an early martyr (3rd Century) who became the patron saint of France and the namesake of many medieval Christians. Variations are Denniss, Denis, Denness, Dinis (English); Denis, Denys (French); Dionisio, Dionis, Dionisi , Doniso, Donisi, Denisi (Italian); Denys, Dinnies, Dinse (Low German); Denys (Polish); Divis, Divina (Czech); and Denes, Dienes, Gyenes (Hungarian), among many others.

Dinsmore is from Dinmore a place in Herefordshire that meant "great hill" and as such is an English place name that described the man from there.

Disney : is an English Place named derived from a French place - Isigny - which was Isinius' estate in France. Many who followed William the Conqueror into England became known by the French towns from which they emigrated. Micky Mouse is said to have been from there.

Dixon/Dickson/Dickinson/Dickey/Dix/Dickens : English Patronymic Name...The love of the English for Richard the Lion-Hearted in the late 1100's caused a rash of names in his honor, in addition to three often-used nicknames that derived from Richard: Rick, Hick, and Dick. The son of a man given the latter of the nicknames was "Dick's son" which evolved into Dixon, Dickson, Dickens, Dix, and Dickinson. In colonial America, Dick's River (in Kentucky, for example) was spelled Dix as often as Dick's until it was standardized, sometimes as late as the 19th century.

Dlugokenski is a variation or cognate form of the Russian patronymnic name Dolgov , from the nickname Dolgi = long, tall. Occasionally Dolgov is derived from Dolg = debt, duty -- another nickname apparently acquired over a feudal obligation. Cognate forms include Dlugosz (Polish); Dlouhy (Czech); Dlug, Dlugacz, Dlugatch, Dlugatz (Jewish Ashkenazic). Patronymic cognates are Dolgin, Dlugin, Dlugovitsky (Jewish Ashkenazic). A place name derived from the long, tall version is Dlugoszewski (Polish).

Dobrovolny is the Czechoslovakian version of the name found in Russia as Dobrovolski, and in Poland as Dobrowolski. The name is derived from dobry = good + volya = will + -ski (surname suffix). Some sources say the name is ornamental, similar to the type names assumed by Orthodox priests, and in the cases of the Polish and Slavic versions, attributed to Dobrowole (a Polish village as a place name) or as a nickname for peasants who had been freed from serfdom. Another source says the Czech version is a nickname for someone who voluntarily accepted serfdom.

Doherty is an Irish and Scottish Patronymic name from the Gaelic O'Dochartaigh , meaning 'descendant of Dochartach ', whose name meant Unlucky or Hurtful. Variants are O'Doherty, O'Dougherty, Dougharty, Doghartie, Dogerty, Daugherty, Doggart, Dockert , and Docharty , among others.

As recently as 1994, I was in Donegal seeking my Doherty ancestors and was frequently asked for the nickname. I finally determined that over half the people in Carndonagh were named Doherty and that families were identified by nicknames, ours being "Dinny". My g-g-grandfather was Dennis Nicholson and, having left the farm for the town and established himself as an auctioneer and valuer, was recognized as distinct from his relatives by establishing the Dinny line. Local press generally reports both surnames; there doesn't seem to be a standard as to which is prime and which is seen as secondary. The need for this practice may be seen in the small local market square where three stores are identified as "Patrick Doherty". My source in Carndonagh was Paddy Glacken (Docherty).

Donahue is an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic O Donnchadha , which means "descendant of Donnchadh ," whose name was comprised of the elements donn = brown + cath = battle. Donohue is the most common spelling, while other variations include O'Donohue, O'Donoghue, O'Donohoe, O'Donochowe, O'Donaghie, O'Dunaghy, Donoghue, Donaghue, Donohoe, Donaghie, Donachie , among others.

Donaldson is a Scottish and Irish Patronymic name form of the surname Donald that comes from the given name Domhnall and is comprised of the Gaelic elements dubno = world + val = might, rule. Variants are Donnell, Doull, Doole , and patronymic versions include Donaldson, McDonald, McConnell, O'Donnell, O'Donill, and O'Daniel (when derived from Gaelic O'Domhnaill ).

Donathan has roots in the Irish given name Donndubhan (brown Dubhan )and was Anglicized as many of the longer Irish names commonly were. They're called Patronymic when the surname is derived from the father's name.

Donovan : is an Irish Patronymic name from the Gaelic O Donndubhain , which means descendant of Donndubhan , from the roots Donn = brown + dubh = black.

Dorey is derived from Dor , a French nickname from Old French dor = golden, which described either the goldsmith, or someone with bright, golden-colored hair. Cognates are Dorat, Daurat (Provencal); Doree, Dorey (English); Dorado (Spanish); Dourado (Portugal).

When I got to my reference books, I starting seeing Double ! Kidding... Double is a variation of the English (Norman) nickname Dobel , derived from Old French doubel = twin < Late Latin duplex = two-fold. Occasionally, it is of German origin as a variation of the name Tobel . Variations of the English form include Dobell, Doubell, Double, Doble, Doubble . Dobler, Dobelmann are variations of the German version.

Doughty is the English nickname for a powerful or brave man, often a champion jouster, and derived from Middle English doughty > Old English dohtig, dyhtig = valiant, strong. Douty, Dowty, Dufty are variations.

Douglass is a variation of Douglas, the Scottish place name for any of the so-named locations on a river named with dubh = dark + glais = stream. There are several locations in Scotland and Ireland with the name, but most with the surname originated in the area some 20 miles south of Glasgow.

Dove is a polygenetic surname that is derived from these various sources: 1) as a nickname for a mild or gentle person, 2) as an occupational name for a keeper of doves, 3) as a patronymic name from the Middle English period when Dove was a given name for either sex, 4) as a translation of the Gaelic Mac Calmain , an Irish patronymic name, 5) as a variation of the Scottish name Duff (Black), 6) as a Low German nickname for a deaf man. It is difficult to determine exactly which origin applies in any given case, although extensive family history research may provide clues.

Dowd/Dowda/Duddy : Irish Patronymic Name for O'Dubhda , a common name in Kerry County, where the term dubh = dark.

Dredge is a variation of the English occupational name Drage, which described the confectioner -- although it may have also have been adopted as an affectionate nickname. It is derived from Middle English dragie = sugar-coated spice > Greek tragemata = spices.

Driscoll/O'Driscoll : Irish name Driscoll was the one given to the man who served as an interpreter -- the prefix -O- means 'of, son of, or grandson of' -- so, O'Driscoll is the descendant of the Irish interpreter.

Drummond is a Scottish place name to describe the man who lived near the ridge, from the Gaelic druim = ridge. Gilbert de Drummyn is the earliest known bearer of the name, and signed a document as the chaplain to Alwyn, Earl of Levenax circa 1199.

Drury is an English and French nickname derived from Old French druerie = love, friendship. It was introduced to England with followers of William the Conqueror, and during the Middle Ages it also carried the meaning of "love affair" or "sweetheart." Variants are Drewery, Druery .

Duckett is an English nickname from a diminutive form of Middle English douke = duck, or from ME douke + heved = head. Occasionally it is derived as an English nickname from Old French ducquet = owl > from duc = guide, leader. I don't know what inspired men to nickname another 'duck' -- maybe he was a good swimmer! Variations are Ducket, Duckit, Duckitt .

Duckworth : English Place name from Duckworth in Lancashire which was derived from the Old English given name Ducca + OE word = enclosure, translating literally to Ducca's word or Ducca's Enclosure.

Duff is a Scots and Irish nickname Anglicized from the Gaelic dubh = dark, black and which was widely used as a nickname for the swarthy man or the man of dark temperament. It was also found as a given name. Dow and Dove are sometimes variations of this name, which was translated in Wales as Dee, among the Cornish as Dew, the Bretons called it Le Duigo or Duigo . The patronymic form is McDuff among the Scots and Irish.

Duguid is a Scottish nickname for a do-gooder or a well-intentioned person, from Northern Middle English du = do + guid = good. The earliest known bearer of the name is John Dugude, who was in Perth in 1379 and went to Prussia with the King's service in 1382. It is most commonly found in the Aberdeen area.

Duke is an English nickname for someone who gave himself airs and graces, from Middle English duke (from Latin dux = leader), or an Occupational name for a servant employed in a ducal household. Occasionally, it is a surname taken as a Patronymic version of a shortened form of the given name Marmaduke, which is of Irish origin, said to be derived from ' mael Maedoc ' which meant 'devotee of Maedoc' a name borne by several Irish saints. Cognates are Duc , Leduc (French); Duca , Duchi, Lo Duca (Italian); Deuque (Portuguese); and Duch (Catalan).

Dull : It depends on whether you are of Scottish descent, or English descent concerning Dull. If you are a Dull Scot, you hail from Dull (a plain) which is a village and parish in Perthshire. If your ancestors originated in England, the name is a nickname that is not as unflattering as some that wound up as surnames.

Dunaway : English Place Name...which refers to one who lived 'on the road to the hill.'

Duncan is a Scottish and Irish name that is the most commonly found version of the Gaelic name Duinnchinn, which would have pronounced similarly to Doon-keen. Duinnchinn is a nickname comprised of the Gaelic elements donn = dark, brown + ceann = head -- which described the brown-headed man. Other variants are Duncanson and Dunkinson, which are patronymnic versions.

Dungen is the general spelling with an umlaht (dots) over the U, and is a German Place name as a variant of Dung , the surname given to the man who lived on a pieces of raised dry land amidst marshy surroundings. Dunk, Donk , and Dunkmann are other versions.

Dunn is a Scottish and Irish name from the Gaelic donn = dark, brown... a nickname for the man with dark hair or a dark complexion. It is also derived as an English nickname with the same meaning, from Old English dunn = dark-colored. Occasionally, it is found as a Scottish place name from Dun the former county of Angus, from Gaelic dun = fort. Variations are Dun, Dunne, Don, Donne, Donn . Dwynn is a Welsh cognate.

Dutton is an English place name from the so-named locations in Cheshire and Lancashire which received their names from Old English Dudda (a given name) + tun = enclosure, settlement. It described the man who came from that locale.

Dvorak , which actually has diacritic marks over the R and A, is a Czechoslovakian occupation or status name for the man who worked at the main house or manor, rather than working on the land. It is derived from Czech dvur = manor, court and the surname is the fourth most common in Czechoslovakia. Dworak, Dwornik are Polish cognates. Dvoracek is a Czech diminutive form. Dworczak, Dworczyk are Polish diminutives. Dvorsky, Dworakowski, Dworzynski are place names derived from Dvorak.

Dye is an English matronymic name from a pet form of the female given name Dennis . (You don't run across too many women named Dennis anymore -- and Dennis Rodman doesn't count! ...Just kidding, Dennis!) It is most commonly found in Norfolk and Yorkshire. Dyett, Dyet, Dyott are variations.

Dyer is an English occupational name for the man who dyed cloth, derived from Middle English dyer < Old English deag = dye. When of Irish heritage, Dyer is a variation of Dwyer , an Anglicized form of O Duibhuidhir , meaning "descendant of Duibhuidhir" whose name was composed of dubh = dark, black + odhar = sallow, tawny. Dyster, Dexter are variations, patronymic forms are Dyers, Dyerson .

Dykes is a variation of the English place name Ditch, which described the man who lived by a ditch or dyke, from Middle English diche < Old English dic = earthwork. In medieval times, the ditch was a form of defensive fortification to protect a settlement. Deetch, Dikes, Dike, Deekes, Deek, Deakes, Deex, Ditcher, Deetcher, Deeker, Dicker, Decker, Diss, Dickman, Digman are variations. Dieckmann, Dieck, Zumdieck, Tendyck, Tomdieck are Low German cognate forms. Van Dijck, Van Dijk, Van Dyck, Van Dyk, Van Dijken, Van Dyken, Dijkman, Dykman are Flemish cognate forms. Deickstra, Dijkstra, Dykstra, Dijkema, Dykema are Frisian forms.


Copyright (c) 2001-2010 Larry J. Hoefling