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The Name

1861 Census at your fingertips 468x60

What is in a name?

In England alone, there are approximately 45,000 different surnames - and each has a mass of history attached to it.

Family Names originally designated occupation, estate, place of residence, or some particular thing or event that related to the person; thus, Edmund Ironsides; Robert Smith, or the smith; William Turner. Surnames are often also patronymics; as, John Johnson.

Definition...

\Sur"name`\, n. [Pref. sur + name; really a substitution for OE. sournoun, from F. surnom.

1. A name or appellation which is added to, or over and above, the baptismal or Christian name, and becomes a family name.

2. An appellation added to the original name; an agnomen. ``My surname, Coriolanus.'' --Shak.

Note: This word has been sometimes written sirname, as if it signified sire-name, or the name derived from one's father.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary.

A poem...

You got it from your father
              'twas the best he had to give,
 It was fair the day you got it,
               and a worthy name to bear.
 When he took it from his father,
               there was no dishonour there.
 Through the years he proudly wore it,
               to his father he was true.
 And that name was clean and spotless,
               when he passed it on to you. 
   
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