Monday, May 18, 2009

What's In a Name?

Click on the image above to see it clearer

The United States Census Bureau statistics state that there are "at least 88,799 different last names and 5,163 different first names in common use in the United States."

Every wonder how many people share your name? 

Interested in seeing the popularity of your name over the past 100 years? Click here

Want to see in which states your name is most popular? 

Where does your last name come from???

Surnames were generally derived from one of four sources: 

1) Patronymic (from the first name of father). 
Peters - son of Peter (English, German) 
Peterson - son of Peter (Swedish) 
Petersen - son of Peter (Danish) 
O'Reilly - grandson of Reilly (Ireland) 
Mc- /Mac- - son of (Scottish) 
d'- / di- - son of (Italian) 
-ez / -es - son of (Spanish / Portuguese) 
-wicz - son of (Poland) 
Fitz- - son of (Old English - sometimes incorrectly associated with being an illegitimate) 

2) Lives near locality or place. 
KirkPatrick - Church (kirk) of St. Patrick 
Cliff - steep hill 
Fairholm - the fair island 
Ashley - field surrounded by ash trees 

3) Occupation or social status. 
Cooper - barrel maker 
Wagner or Waggoner - wagon maker 
Knight - knighthood conferred by the king 
Smith - blacksmith 
Powers - poor or taken a vow of poverty 

4) Nicknames describing person or personality. 
Reid - red, ruddy complexion or red hair 
Stout - Body size 
Small - Body size 
Armstrong - strong arms 
Sharpe - sharp, smart 

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