Extended Families

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letter G

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the seventh installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the F names have been discussed, next up is the letter G:

Gallion (my mother’s paternal line)
French—A nickname derived from the Old French word galier, meaning a man with a cheerful disposition.  

Gallelli (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—This nickname surname derives either from the fact that the original name holders were men who prided themselves on being snappy dressers and leaders of the flock or were known for their sexual prowess. This surname is derived from the Latin word gallus, meaning a cock bird.

Gambon (my mother’s maternal line)
French—This surname is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word gambon, meaning ham, which comes ultimately from a Norman-Picard form of the Old French word jambe, meaning leg.

36cbd82d25c17d6e53e54613dd900dcbGarner (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of early medieval English origin and has three possible sources. First, it might be topographical for someone who lived near a barn or granary or an occupational name for someone who was in charge of the storehouse for corn, the granary,. It is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word gerner and Old French word gernier—both from the Late Latin word granarium or granum, meaning grain or corn. Second, it might be from a central Old French form of a Germanic personal name composed of the elements war(in), meaning guard, and heri or hari, meaning army. The third source is a contracted variant from the English occupational name Gardener, which was normally given to a cultivator of edible produce in an orchard or kitchen garden, rather than to a tender of ornamental lawns and flower beds.

Gay (my mother’s paternal line)
English—There are two possible origins for this surname, both French. The first is a nickname bestowed on a lighthearted, joyful, or cheerful person from the Old French word gai and Middle English word gai(e), meaning full of joy. The second possible origin is locational, where the surname derives from any of the places in Normandy called Gaye, such as that in La Manche, where the name of the place is derived from an early owner bearing a Germanic personal name beginning Wai or Gai.

Geary (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is derived from the pre-7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Olde German word geri or gari, meaning spear. This might have described a soldier who carried such a weapon, or it might simply by a personal name at a time when any name which extolled war and weaponry was greatly treasured. Another possibility is that the name derives from the medieval English word geary, meaning fickle or capricious.

ornateg_250George (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
English—This notable surname is of Ancient Greek origins. Deriving from the word georgios, meaning farmer, the name was used in Europe throughout the early Christian period, being associated with a martyr killed at Nicomedia in the year 303. The popularity of the name increased during the Crusades, when it became the practice for returning crusaders and pilgrims to name their children after from the Old Testament.

Gifford (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname might originate from the Old French word giffard, used as a nickname for someone thought to be chubby-cheeked. This is a derivative of the German word giffel, meaning cheek.

Gibson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This notable surname is a form of the medieval nickname Gib, a shortened form of the personal name Gilbert, which was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest. The Norman name was originally Gislebert or Gillebert and is composed of the Germanic elements gisil, meaning hostage or noble youth, and berht, meaning bright or famous.

Gillespie (my brother-in-law’s family)
Irish— This surname is of pre-10th Century Gaelic origin. It derives from giolla easpuig, meaning bishop’s servant.

Gillis (my mother’s paternal line)
Scotland—This surname is of pre-Christian, Ancient Greek origin. It is a shortened form of aegidius, meaning a wearer of goatskin—a reference to a holy man or somebody who did good works. St. Giles (originally Aegidius) left Greece to become a hermit in France. It is said that his Greek name was turned into Gidie, then Gide, and finally Gilles. St. Giles is regarded as the patron of beggars and cripples. The name was introduced into England and Scotland by the Normans with the names Gilo and Ghilo appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Gisler (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—A variant of Geisler surname, this is an occupational name for a goatherd from an agent derivative of the Middle High German word geiz, meaning goat. 

ornate_letter_g_small_square_tile-r955488faddf54d31a58d28737ba0a041_agtk1_8byvr_324Gingerich (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—The Americanized form of Swiss German surname Güngerich, derived from a Germanic personal name formed with the word gund, meaning battle, and ric, meaning power(ful).  

Gleason (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This developed from the Irish name O’Glasain, which originated in County Cork. Glasain derives from the Gaelic word glas, meaning green as in inexperienced as opposed to the color.

Goble (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—Of medieval origin, this surname is a dialectal variant of Godbold, itself from a Norman personal name Godebald. It is composed of the Germanic elements god, meaning good, or got, meaning god, along with bald, meaning bold or brave.

g_monogram_silver_besque_ceramic_tile-r75f7ad749bc84aeb97ea3748d761c58d_agtbm_8byvr_324Goess/Goss (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This is derived from the personal name Gozzo, a shortened form of the various compound names with the element god, meaning good, or got, meaning god.

Good (my father’s paternal line)
English—This is medieval surname which seems to originate from the pre-7th Century Old English word god, meaning good. This could be a nickname for a good person—someone who was pious and respected, although given the humor of that time, it could possibly be the opposite.

Goodman (my mother’s paternal line)
English—First, this surname might be a status name to describe the head of a household. As such, it derives from the Old English word god, meaning good, and -man, indicating head of. In Scotland, the name described a landowner. Finally, it might be of pre-7th Century Anglo-Saxon origin. If so, it is derived from the personal name Guethmund, which is composed of the elements gueth, meaning battle, and mund, meaning protection.

manuscript-letter-g-illuminated-ancient-ornate-irish-manuscripts__04320-1446307946-500-750Goodspeed (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—This surname derives from the Medieval English phrase God spede, meaning may god prosper [you]—a wish for success said to one setting out on an excursion or enterprise.

Gordon/Gordun (my mother’s paternal line and my brother-in-law’s family)
Scottish—This surname is of locational origin. It is Scottish from Gordon in Berwickshire and is derived from the Old Gaelic word gor, meaning large or spacious, plus the word dun, meaning fort.

Gorham (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a very old locational surname might have originated from the lost village of Gorehambury, near the town of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. The derivation is from the pre-7th Century Old English word gor, meaning muddy, and ham, meaning farm or homestead.

ornate-letter-gGraf/Groff (my father’s paternal line)
German—This Middle High German surname comes from the word grave or grabe, a title for aristocratic dignitaries and officials. In later times, it became established as a title of nobility equivalent to count. It also denoted minor local functionaries in different parts of Germany. Third, it might be an occupational name for a servant or retainer of a count,. Finally, it could be a nickname for someone who puts on airs.

Gowdy (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is one of the variant forms of the surname Goldie and reflects the phonetic spelling of the popular pronunciation of that name. Goldie is itself a diminutive form of the surname Gold, which is derived from the Old English pre-7th Century personal name Gold(a) or Golde, from gold, the metal.

Graham (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—Although now widely associated with Scotland, this distinguished surname is of Anglo-Saxon origins. It was a locational name originally from the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire and as such recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as both Graham and Grandham. The translation might be the combination of the word ham, meaning homestead, and the Old English pre-7th Century word grand, meaning gravel.

87daa65575e21cf494e0604873abb900Graves (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—This is an occupational name for a steward, from the Middle English word greyve, itself derived from the Old Norse word greifi and the Low German word greve.

Gray/Grey (my mother’s paternal line—four different branches—and my mother’s maternal line)
English—This ancient name has two possible origins, the first of which is an Anglo-Saxon nickname for someone with grey hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word graeg, meaning grey. The second origin is locational from a place called Graye in Calvados, Normandy, derived from the Old Gallo-Roman word gratus, meaning welcome or pleasing.

Grimes (my spouse’s stepfather’s family)
English—This surname has Norse-Viking pre-7th Century origins and is probably from the personal name Grimr, which appears in the Old Danish and Old Swedish name, Grim. It was very popular in those areas of England influenced by Scandinavian settlements. The Norse word was equivalent to the Old English word grima, meaning mask, It was one of the names given to the god Woden. As such, it might mean masked person or shape-changer, and the name was given to boys to encourage the god’s protection.

fancy_letter_g_postcard-r53440ba3f47e4157876960e44059a6fb_vgbaq_8byvr_324-1Günthardt (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—This surname was found in the canton of Zürich prior to the 1800s. It might be derived from the German word gund, meaning battle, and hardt, a topographic name for someone who lived by woods or pasture, or from the Middle High German words hart or hard, meaning hardy/brave/strong.

Guiscard (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a variation of the Norman French name Wischard, formed of the Old Norse elements viskr, meaning wise, and hórðr, meaning brave or hardy.

Gullett (my brother-in-law’s family)
English— It is thought that this surname might have also been originally spelled as Gullick. The Gullick surname originated from the pre-7th Century compound personal name Gotlac—derived from the word god, meaning good, and the suffix -lac, meaning mean play or sport (or possibly lake).

Well, that’s it for the G surnames… Next up are the H surnames.


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Caimi-Culatina Line, Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letter F

f1

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the sixth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the E names have been discussed, next up is the letter F:

Fairchild (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
EnglishThis surname was also one of the very first of all known surnames to be created, and recordings are known to exist which show that the name was in use at least 1,000 years ago. It derives from the pre-7th century Old English phrase faere cild and does actually mean what it says, beautiful child.

Faller (my father’s maternal line)
GermanThis is either a habitational name for someone from Ober- or Unter- Fall near Triberg in the Black Forest or a topographical name for someone living by a waterfall or the site of a landslide. It is derived from the Middle High German word val, meaning fall, waterfall, or landslide.

Felix (my father’s maternal line)
French/German—Although my family is of German/French origin, this surname is also Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Ashkenazic. Derived from a medieval personal name from the Latin word, felix, genitive felicis, meaning lucky or fortunate.

Ferguson (my father’s paternal line)
ScottishThis surname is of Old Gaelic origin. It is a patronymic form of Fergus, from an Old Gaelic personal name Fearghus, composed of the elements fear, meaning man, and gus, meaning vigor or force, with the patronymic ending son.

Fetterhaff (my stepfather’s maternal family)
GermanThe word fette is derived from the Middle Low German word vet and Old Saxon word fētid, meaning fat. The word haff is derived from the German Low German and Middle Low German word haf, meaning a bay or lagoon behind a spit.

Fischbach (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This is a either a habitational surname from a place named Fischbach or a topographic name for someone living by a fish stream. derived from the Middle High German words fisch (fish) and bach (stream).

Fischer (my mother’s paternal line)
German—This is an occupational surname for a fisherman, derived from the German word fisch, plus the agent suffix -er.

Fitch (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—This is a metonymic occupational name for a workman who used an iron pointed implement. It derives from the Old French word fiche, meaning an iron point, which itself comes from the word ficher, meaning to fix or to plant; hence, fitch is an iron pointed implement.

Fleischmann/Fleishmann/Fleshman (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This possibly is an occupational surname for a butcher, derived from the Middle High German word fleisch, meaning meat or flesh, and from the German word mann, meaning man.

Fleming (my mother’s paternal line, two branches)
Scottish—An English ethnic surname for someone from Flanders. In the Middle Ages, there was considerable commerce between England and the Netherlands, particularly in the wool trade, and many Flemish weavers and dyers settled in the British Isles. The word reflects a Norman French form of Old French word flamenc, from the stem flam-, plus the Germanic suffix -ing. The surname is also common in south and east Scotland and in Ireland.

Fogle (my mother’s paternal line)
German—Recorded originally in Germany as Vogil and Fogel, and in England as Fugel and Foul, this interesting surname is of both Anglo-Saxon and Old English pre-7th Century origins. It derives from the word fugol, meaning bird, and in ancient times this was a personal name of endearment. In medieval times, the word as fugel was also used as a nickname for someone who was in some way believed either to physically resemble a bird or to have the characteristics associated with one.

Fontaine (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This is a topographic surname for someone who lived near a spring or well, Old French word fontane, Late Latin word fontana, and a derivative of classical Latin word fons.

Forman (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—An occupational surname for a keeper of swine, from the Middle English word foreman, derived from the Old English word for, meaning hog or pig, and mann, meaning man. This could also be a status name for a leader or spokesman for a group, from the Old English word fore, meaning before or in front and mann, meaning man.

Forney (my stepfather’s maternal family)
England—Of German origin (also found in Alsace and French Switzerland), this surname is perhaps a variant of Farner or Fahrni. The surname is also found in England and could be a habitational name from a lost or unidentified place.

Forrer/Furry (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—
This is a topographic name from the regional term furre, meaning cleft in the ground.

Forster (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is either an occupational and topographic name for someone who lived or worked in a forest; a Norman French nickname or occupational surname from the Old French word forcetier, meaning cutter—an agent noun from the word forcettes, meaning scissors; or an English occupational name, by metathesis, from the Old French word fust(r)ier, meaning blockmaker—a derivative of the word fustre, meaning block of wood.

Foster (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This medieval surname has at least four possible origins. The first is an occupational name for a saddle tree maker, a very important occupation 700 or more years ago. The derivation is from the Old French word fustier, itself originating from the word fustre, meaning a block of wood. Secondly, the name may describe a maker or user of a forcetier, steel shears widely used in both agriculture and textile production. A third possibility is that Foster is a contracted or dialectal spelling of Forester, a term which described a civil officer in charge of a forest. The last possible origin is a the derivation from a shortened spelling of the Old English pre-7th Century compound cild-fostre, an occupational nickname for a foster parent or possibly a foster child.

Foulke/Fowlk (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
Welsh/English—This surname is of Norman origin and is derived from the German word folk, meaning people.

Fourbour (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This surname has its origins in the Old French word fo(u)rbisseor from fourbir, meaning to burnish or furbish and is an occupational surname for someone who worked as a polisher of metal. In particular. this would apply to someone employed by an armorer to put the finishing touches to his armor by rubbing it until it was bright.

Foust (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family)
German—An alternate spelling of the Faust surname, it is derived from Middle High German word fust, meaning fist—presumably a nickname for a strong or pugnacious person or for someone with a club hand. This surname is also derived from the Latin word faustus, meaning fortunate or lucky.

Francis (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a name of Roman-Latin origins. It derives from Franciscus, originally both an ethnic name used to describe a Fran”, later to be known as a Frenchman, and a personal name from the 5th Century meaning free man. This name was associated with the Knight Templars of the 12th Century.

Fraser (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—The earliest recorded spelling forms include de Fresel, de Friselle and de Freseliere, indicating a possible French locational origin; however, there is no place in France answering to that spelling. A more likely explanation is that the name is derived from the French word fraise, meaning strawberry. Early lands of the clan included an area at Neidpath where strawberries grew prolifically. The clan was know as the strawberry bearers, from their heraldic coat of arms which included strawberry blossoms.

Frey (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family and my father’s paternal line, two branches)
German—This is a status name for a free man, as opposed to a bondsman or serf, in the feudal system, derived from Middle High German word vri, meaning free or independent.

Fulgham (my mother’s paternal line)
English—The ancient history of the name Fulgham began soon after 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. It was a name given to a person who had a limp or a malformed leg, derived from the Old French word fol, meaning foolish, and jambe, meaning leg.

Well, that’s it for the F surnames… Stay tuned for the G surnames.


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter E

Eyebright Fairy

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the fifth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the D names have been discussed, next up is the letter E:

initiale_medievale_de_cru_de_monogramme_de_la_carte_postale-r69d6d9bf690b4acbacc62ffc1e0893e9_vgbaq_8byvr_324-1Earnest (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This is the Americanize form of the German surname, Ernst. This is probably a locational surname for the town of Ernst, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. However, medieval evidence for Norman spellings such as Ernais, derives it from a Germanic personal name Arn(e)gis, possibly composed of the elements arn, meaning eagle, an gisil, meaning pledge, hostage or noble youth.

Eckenroth (my father’s maternal line)
German—This surname is derived from Middle Low German words eke, meaning oak (plural eken), and rot, meaning cleared land’. This might have been a topographic name for someone who lived by a piece of land which had been cleared of oaks or perhaps a nickname for some who owned a piece of such land.

Eckert (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—From a personal name composed of the elements agi, meaning edge or point, and hard, meaning hardy, brave, strong.

Eden/Eddins (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is the patronymic (the “s” denoting son of) form of the name Eden, itself derives from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Eadhun, with the Middle English development edun, and composed of the elements ead, meaning prosperity, and hun, meaning a bear cub. Or, it could refer to the Hebrew word eden, meaning delight.

6488c5dea049627fa7abceb1d16ea19fEgerton (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is locational in nature, deriving from either of the places called Egerton in the counties of Cheshire and Kent. Egerton comes from the Old English pre-7th Century personal names Ecghere or Ecgheard, with the suffix -tun, meaning an enclosure or settlement.

Eller (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
German/English—This surname is both German and Northern English, specifically Yorkshire. It was probably introduced into England, as a word only, by the Anglo-Saxon settlers after the 5th century. Whether it was reintroduced by German engineers responsible for the draining of the Vale of York in the 15th century is open to conjecture. From North Germany, this could be a topographic surname for someone who lived by an alder tree, from Middle Low German word elre or alre, meaning alder. The name also means low-lying ground and is claimed to originate from  the Rhine Valley, specifically from the old river name of Elera. What is fascinating is that the word elera is a Celtic or Old English word that seems to have been imported into Northern Germany, so the possibility remains that nameholders might have originated in England and moved to Germany at some point in ancient history before returning back to England.

ddd349fb30d5359a4d286d63ceabaf1aElliott (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from a personal name which traces its origin to two names, Ailiet and Aliet. Deriving ultimately from the Old English pre-7th Century words aeoelgyo and aeoelgeat, these surnames break down to mean noble combat (aoel, meaning noble, and gyo, meaning battle), and noble great (aoel, meaning noble, and gait, meaning goat)—a masculine form of an old tribal name.

Ellis (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Welsh—This surname is the Anglicized version of the surname Elisedd, which was derived from Welsh word elus, meaning kind. This surname has back to the Greek Elias, itself from the Hebrew Eliyahu, meaning Jehovah is God.

ornate_e_24421_lgEmenheiser (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This surname is an Americanized spelling of Immenhauser, a habitational name from Immenhausen, a town in the Kassel district of Hesse, Germany.

Erb (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—This surname is derived from the German word erben, meaning to inherit. This name might have been given to the heir of a big estate or to one who inherited wealth.

051-16th-century-letter-e-q90-2719x2908Espec (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname has two district possible origins. In most instances, it is derived from an early medieval English nickname that comes from the Old French word espeche and Middle English word spek(e), meaning woodpecker. The second possible origin is from an Anglo-Saxon locational name, the place called Speke in Lancashire, recorded in the Domesday Book as Spec. This placename is from the Old English pre-7th Century word spaec, meaning twigs or dry brushwood.

Evans  (my mother’s paternal line and my spouse’s maternal mother’s line, two different branches)
Welsh—This surname, of medieval Welsh origin, is a patronymic form of the male given name Ifan or Evan, both of which derive from Iohannes through the colloquial Iovannes, Latin forms of John.

2-3-1_ecap_large_600x580pxEverett (my stepfather’s family)
English—This is a surname originates as both the Old English pre-7th century personal name Eoforheard and the Germanic personal name Eberhard, both composed of the elements eber, translating as wild boar and hard, meaning brave or strong.

Eyre (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Old Norse origin and is found chiefly in the northwestern counties of England, reflecting the dense settlement of Scandinavian people in those areas. The surname is locational from places such as Aira Beck or Aira Force near Ullswater in Cumberland, or some other minor or unrecorded place also named with the Old Norse term eyrara, meaning gravel-bank stream or river. The surname may also be topographical in origin, denoting residence by such a gravel-bank.

That’s it for the Es! Stay tuned for the F surnames in our families…


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter D

d

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.

This is the fourth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)


Now that the C names have been discussed, next up is the letter D:

Daggett (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is generally accepted as deriving from the Old French word dague, meaning knife or dagger. The name is a medieval metonymic for one who habitually carried a dagger or who was a manufacturer of such weapons. However, the name was originally prominent in Yorkshire, where it has been suggested that it may derive not from French but from the Norse-Viking word dag, meaning day.

0a1a1a_7911c6a997b14975b47df53472e609f9Daley (my mother’s paternal line)
Irish—This surname of Medieval Irish origin is one of the variant forms of (O) Daly, itself an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic name O Dalaigh. The Gaelic prefix ‘O’ indicates male descendant of, plus the personal nickname dalach from dail, an assembly or meeting place as in Dail Eireann.

Damourvell (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This is one of those surnames whose origins are unknown. However, I can make some educated suppositions on what the meaning/origin of this name might be. Let’s start by dividing this surname into two words. The first part of the surname is damour. In French, d’amour means of love. The second part of the surname is vell. In English, the word vell has two definitions. The first is to cut the turf from, as for burning. The second is a salted calf’s stomach, used in cheese making. Or, perhaps the vell was originally spelt ville, the French word for village, town, or city.

026-eleventh-century-02-d-q90-1534x1356Davies/Davis (my mother’s paternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English/Welsh—Both Davis and Davies are English patronymic surnames, often associated with Wales. These surnames mean the son of David, from the Hebrew male given name translated as beloved.

Dawson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a patronymic form of the medieval male given name Daw. Daw is a nickname form of David, adopted from the Hebrew male given name Dodavehu, meaning beloved of Jehovah.

letter-dDebnam/Dedman (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Recorded in several spelling forms including Debnam and Dedman, this is a locational surname deriving from the village of Debenham in the county of Suffolk. This village’s name comes from an Old English pre-7th century river name, deriving from deopa, meaning deep, and ham, meaning farm or homestead.

Dekker/Decker (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—This is an occupational surname for a roofer—a thatcher, slater, shingler, or tiler), from the Middle Dutch word deck(e)re, an agent derivative of decken, meaning to cover.

letter-d_1544033Delatush/Dilatush (my mother’s maternal line)
French—These are the Americanized versions of De La Touche, a locational surname for someone from the village of La Touche in the Drôme department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. La Touche is derived from the Middle French words toucher or touchier and the Old French words tochier, touchier, or tucher, all meaning to touch.

Dent (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This surname is most likely being a locational surname from either of the places called Dent in West Yorkshire and Cumberland. The placenames derive from the Old Irish word dinn or dind, meaning a hill, and the Old Norse word tindr, meaning point or crag. The second possible origin is a medieval nickname for someone with prominent teeth, derived from the Old French word dent, meaning tooth.

manuscript-letter-d-illuminated-ancient-ornate-irish-manuscripts__54677-1446307942-500-750Desbles (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
French—In French, des blés means wheat, so one would assume that this surname is an occupational one for a person who grows, harvests, and/or mills wheat.

Desmarais (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
French—A habitational surname for someone from any of various places named with the Old French word mareis or maresc, meaning marsh—for example Les Marets in Seine-et-Marne, Centre, Nord, and Picardy.

Dieb (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—Hopefully, this surname is not occupational in nature, as dieb is the German word for thief!

0127-historiatedalphabet-letter-d-q75-814x750Digel (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This surname comes from the Old High German word tigel, a cognate of tiegel, meaning crucible.

Dill (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—A metonymic occupational name for a sawyer (a person who saws timber for a living) derived from the Middle High German word dill(e), meaning (floor)board.

Dinkel (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—A metonymic occupational name for a grain farmer, from the Middle High German word dinkel, meaning spelt or wheat.

ornate_d_24371_lgDircks (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—A variant spelling of the Diercks surname, which is derived from the nickname Dirk, a reduced form of the personal name Diederik.

Dodson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a variant of the Middle English given name Dodde or Dudde from the Old English pre-7th Century personal byname Dodda or Dudda. It was derive from a Germanic root dudd or dodd, meaning something rounded; it was used to denote a short, rotund man or possibly a bald one, from the word dod, meaning to make bare, cut off.

zentangle-letter-d-monogram-in-black-and-white-nan-wrightDouglas (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is of territorial origin from the lands of Douglas, south of Glasgow, in Lanarkshire, situated on the Douglas Water. These waters were so named from the Old Gaelic words dubh, meaning dark or black, and glas, meaning a rivulet or stream.

Douwes (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—This surname might be the singular present subjunctive of douwen, derived from Middle Dutch word duwen or douwen and from Old Dutch word thuwen, meaning to push.

letterDowning (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This name of Anglo-Saxon origin is from a nickname for a man with particularly dark hair or a swarthy complexion, meaning the son of Dunn. The derivation is from the Old English pre-7th century word dunn, meaning dark-colored.

Drummond (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is of territorial origin from any of the various places, including Drymen near Stirling that get their names from the Gaelic word dromainn, a derivative of druim, meaning a ridge.

Duff (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic word dubh, meaning dark or black. This word was frequently used as a personal name, by itself or as a shortened form of a longer double-stemmed name, and as a nickname for a swarthy man or someone of a dark temperament.

william-morris-letter-d-by-kuba-witpj5-clipartDunn (my mother’s maternal line)
English/Irish/Scottish—This name of Anglo-Saxon origin is from a nickname for a man with particularly dark hair or a swarthy complexion, from the Old English pre-7th century word dunn, meaning dark-colored.

Durant (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Norman origin, derived from the Old French word durant,  meaning enduring, from the word durer, meaning to endure or last. This French word itself comes from the Latin word durus, meaning hard, firm.

Dürr (my spouse’s father’s maternal line, two branches—probably sisters)
German—This surname originated as a nickname from Middle High German word dürre, meaning thin, gaunt, dry.

Dutton (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This is a locational name from places in Cheshire or Lancashire. They share the same meaning, which is Dudda’s village or settlement, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century personal name Dudd(a) with tun, an enclosure, settlement, village, town.

All done with the Ds! Stay tuned for the E surnames in our families…


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter B

b

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.

This is the second installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)


Now that the A names have been documented, next up is the letter B. Holy cow, there sure are a bunch of B surnames! But, as my grandmother used to say, “In for a penny, in for a pound”, so here goes:

mp,550x550,matte,ffffff,t.3u3Bachelor/Bachiler  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
French and English—This notable and long-established surname is of Old French origin, and is a status name for a young knight or novice at arms, deriving from the Old French word bacheler from the medieval Latin word baccalarius. The name was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest and was adopted into Middle English. By the 14th Century the word bachelor had already been extended to mean an unmarried man, but it is unlikely that many bearers of the surname derive it from the word in that sense.

Bailey/Bayley (my mother’s paternal line)
French and English—This surname has three possible origins. First, it can be an occupational name for a steward or official from the Old French words baillis or bailiff and the Middle English word bail(l). The word survives in Scotland as bailie, the title of a municipal magistrate; however, in England this word has developed into bailiff, an officer of the court. The second origin is topographical, denoting one who lived by the outermost wall of a castle or fortified town from the Middle English word bail(l)y, as can be seen in the case of the Old Bailey in London which was part of the early Medieval walls. Finally, the surname can be locational from Bailey in Lancashire, which means berry wood.

Baker  (my mother’s paternal line, my spouse’s father’s maternal line, and my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—This surname is of Old English pre-8th Century origins, deriving from the word boeccure. The surname is occupational in nature. Possible origins include an official with special responsibilities for the baking ovens in a monastery or castle or the keeper of the communal kitchen in a town or village, since most of the humbler households had no cooking facilities other than a pot over a fire. The right to be in charge of this service and to exact money or loaves in return for its use was in many parts of Britain, a hereditary feudal privilege. Less often, the surname might have been acquired by someone noted for specifically baking fine bread or as an owner of a kiln for the baking of pottery or bricks.

monogram-33667_640Baliol/Balliol  (my mother’s paternal line)
French—According to the Dictionnaire des Postes, thirteen places are named Bailleul in Northern France. M. de Belleval, It seems that there have been nineteen different families of the name, all of which, except one in Normandy, are extinct. The family was of Picard, not Norman, origin. The family took its name from a small village, Bailleul-en-Vimeu, about six miles south of Abbeville in the department of Somme.

Banastre  (my mother’s paternal line)
French—From the Old Norman French banestre, itself a development based upon combining the Gallic benna and the Greek kanastron, the surname is a metonymic job description of a maker of baskets.

Banks  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This name derives from the Northern Middle English word bank(e), itself coming from the Old Danish word banke, meaning a ridge or hillside, and was originally given as a topographical name to someone who lived on the slope of a hillside or by a riverbank. The final “s” on the name preserves the Old English genitive ending meaning of the bank.

Bär  (my father’s paternal line)
German—This surname comes from the Middle High German word ber, meaning bear. It could have been a nickname for someone thought to resemble the animal in some way, a metonymic occupational name for someone who kept a performing bear, or a habitational name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a bear. (Or, perhaps they liked the strength of the bear and wanting to honor or emulate that.)

decorative_letters_BBarnett  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
Irish—Although this famous surname is of early Anglo-Saxon pre-7th Century origins, its longevity in Ireland is such that it might also be regarded as Irish in its own right. The name is either topographical for one who lived on land cleared by burning (Baernet) or is a derivative of the personal name Bernhard, meaning brave bear.

Bartenschlag  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—The meaning of this surname is difficult to discern. In German, bart translates as beard. Schlag is a topographic name derived from the Middle High German word slac, meaning clearing in a wood. It can also be a habitational name from a place named with this word. The word schlag also means a blow or strike.

Basset  (my mother’s paternal line)
English and French—This surname has two possible origins, one English and one French. The English source is from a nickname for a man of short stature, from the Middle English and Old French word bas(se), meaning low or short from the Latin word bassus, meaning thick-set or wide. Basset(t) is the diminutive form of the original surname Bass. The French source is locational from a place in Normandy called Basset.

Bates  (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line and my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English and German—This surname has three distinct possible origins. The first and most likely source being the medieval male given name Bate, itself a diminutive of Bartholomew, from the Aramaic patronymic bar-Talmay, meaning abounding in furrows or rich in lands. The name may also be occupational for a boatman, deriving from the Old English pre-7th Century word bat (Northern Middle English, bat), meaning a boat. Finally, the Old Norse bati, meaning profit or gain used in the transferred sense of lush pasture, might have given rise to the surname.

Letter b scholarsclub.co (29)Baum  (my father’s maternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
German—This surname is generally of 13th century English origin. As such it is a metonymic occupational surname for a seller of spices or perfumes and ointments. The name derives from the word balme, an aromatic substance prized for its medicinal qualities. Balme derives from the Latin balsamun, the use of such medicines being possibly a Roman introduction to England. However, as these families were German in origin, the word most likely is baum, the German word for tree.

Baumgardner/Baumgärtner (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
GermanThe surname is occupational in nature. With the combination of the German words baum, meaning tree, and gärtner, meaning gardener. This surname, therefore, indicates someone who owned or worked in an orchard. It could also be a habitational name for someone from one of the villages or areas referred to as Baumgarten.

Beach/Beche (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—This surname is less clear cut in its origins than it might seem. It can be topographical and was derived from the Old English pre-7th century bec, describing one who was resided by beech trees or a beech orchard, as beech nuts were collected as part of the Medieval winter diet. However, the most likely explanation is that the surname has a quite different meaning altogether. It probably derives from baec, meaning a small river or stream, since it was necessary to live as close to fresh water as possible. Finally it is also possible that some modern nameholders derive from beche, an Old English word meaning valley.

Beaufort  (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Of English (Norman) and French origin, this surname is a habitational name from various places in France named Beaufort. It derives from the French words beau, meaning beautiful, and fort, meaning fortress or stronghold.

initial_BBeck  (my father’s maternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
German—Beck is a surname of Germanic descent, meaning brook or stream, and is derived from the Old Norse word bekkr. The German name can also be a variant of Becker, which is an occupational surname meaning baker. This surname is also common in England and France. In Northern Middle English the word bekke and the Old Norman French word bec both mean stream. The name may derive from a Medieval English nickname for someone with a prominent nose, from the Middle English beke or from the Old French word bec, meaning a beak. Finally, Beck as a surname may be a metonymic occupational name for a maker, seller, or user of a matlock or pickaxe, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word becca, meaning matlock.

Beckett (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, has three possible sources. The first is locational either from Beckett in Berkshire or from Beckett in Devonshire. The former place, recorded as Becote in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as Buccot in the Book of Fees for Berkshire, dated 1220. In Old English pre-7th Century, the word beo meant bee, and cot meant cottage or shelter. Beckett in Devonshire, recorded as Bikkecoth in the 1242 Book of Fees for that county, has as its component elements the Old English personal name Bicca with cot as before. Beckett may also be of topographical origin from residence by a stream, the derivation being from the Northern Middle English word bekke. The third origin is as a diminutive of the surname Beake, itself a nickname for someone with a prominent nose, from the Middle English word beke.

Beer (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This surname derives from Middle Low German word bare and the Middle Dutch word bere, both meaning bear. This could have been a nickname for someone thought to resemble the animal in some way or as a metonymic occupational name for someone who kept a performing bear. Alternatively, it could have been a habitational name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a bear.

Belbusti (my brother-in-law’s paternal family)
Italian—While the origin of this surname is unknown, this surname is comprised of two modern Italian words: bel, meaning beautiful, and busti meaning busts. Hmmm… well…Perhaps they were referring to sculptures?

f6e1014f58cf2fed770fd18b5499e908Bell (my spouse’s nieces’ family)
English and French—This surname has a number of possible derivations. It might be a metonymic occupational name for a bell ringer or bell founder. It might be a topographical name for someone living at the bell, indicating either residence by an actual bell or at the sign of the bell and derived from the Middle English and Old English pre-7th Century word belle, meaning bell. It might have derived from the medieval given name Bel. As a man’s name, this is from the Old French words beu or bel, meaning handsome, which was also used as a nickname. As a female name, it represents an abbreviated form of Isobel. Finally, it might be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic MacGiolla Mhaoil, meaning son of the servant of the devotee.

Belknap/Belnap  (my mother’s maternal line)
England—Belknap (or Belnap) is a surname of Norman origin that may come from the Old French word bel, meaning beautiful, and knap, meaning the crest or summit of a small hill. Although today the “k” in Belknap is generally silent as in the words knight or knee, it is evident from documents dating from the Middle English period that it was originally pronounced as a hard “k.”

Bellis (my spouse’s stepfather’s family)
Welsh—This surname is of Welsh origin and is the patronymic (son of) form of Bellis, itself the patronymic form of Ellis, from the Welsh Ap-Ellis which became Bellis. The medieval given name, Ellis, derives from the Hebrew Eliyahu, meaning Jehovah is God.

Bennett (my mother’s paternal line)
English —This surname derives from the medieval given name Benedict, from the Latin benedictus, meaning blessed. This name owed its popularity in the Middle Ages to St. Benedict (circa 480-550), who founded the Benedictine Order of Monks at Monte Cassino and wrote a monastic rule that formed a model for all subsequent rules.

Berlieb (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
German—While the origin of this surname is unknown, this surname is comprised of two modern German words: ber, meaning about, and lieb meaning dear or love. There are worse things to be named than “about love.”

Berninger (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This surname is supposedly habitational in origin, referring to someone from Behring/Berning or possibly from Bern.

decorative-initial-letter-b-with-boy-and-book-image-500x500-pixelsBickel (my father’s paternal line)
German— This surname is taken from the German word bickel, meaning pickaxe or chisel, hence it is a metonymic occupational name for someone who made pickaxes or worked with a pickaxe or for a stonemason.

Biedermann (my father’s paternal line)
German—This surname is a nickname for an honest man, from a compound of Middle High German word biderbe, meaning honorable, and the word mann, meaning man. In modern German, this surname’s components, bieder and mann, mean honest man.

Bitler (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This surname is a derivative of Middle High German word bitelen, meaning to ask or solicit; hence, it is a nickname or occupational name for a suitor, a bidder, or intermediary. At some point, this surname became confused with the surname Bettler, a derivative of betelen, meaning beggar, and the two words were used interchangeably.

Biven (my mother’s paternal line)
English —This is an English surname of Welsh origin with English patronymic -s. The Biven/Bivens surname tends to indicate a family of Welsh origin whose surname only became finally fixed after settlement in England or, more typically, in America. Biven and its variations were originally referred to as ap Evan, meaning of son of Evan.

Bjørnsson (my mother’s paternal line)
Norwegian—The surname Bjornsson is derived from the Old Norse personal name Bjorn, meaning bear, while the suffix -son indicates son of.

celtic_b_monogram_small_square_tile-r46e64e654cb24ee8912c163c45801c52_agtk1_8byvr_324Blackman (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is Anglo-Saxon of pre-9th Century origins. It is ethnic and described either a Scandinavian Viking, somebody who was fair, or conversely one of the Old English (Welsh or Cornish) who were dark-haired and of swarthy complexion. The confusion comes about because the pre-5th Century English word for white or fair was blaec, whilst the later Anglo-Saxon English for black was blaca. It can therefore be seen that even without the major problems of dialect and poor spelling in early records, the is an obvious capacity for mistakes. Its original meaning would have depended on to whom it referred.

Blain (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—Chiefly recorded in Ayrshire and Wigtownshire, this surname derives from the pre 10th Century Old Gaelic Mac Gille Blaan, meaning the son of the follower of St. Blaan. The translation is from from Mac, meaning son of, gille, a follower, and the saint’s name Blaan, a diminutive of bla, meaning sallow.

Blake (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname has two contradictory origins. The derivation might be from the pre-7th Century adjective blac, which translates as black, meaning dark-haired or of swarthy complexion. It also might have referred to the native Old English word blaac, which translates as white, meaning fair-haired or fair complexion.

Blankenbaker (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This is the Americanized spelling of the German surname Blankenbacher, a habitational name for someone from the town of Blankenbach in Bavaria. There is also a river in Bavaria called the Blankenbach.

Blecher (my father’s paternal line)
German—This is an occupational surname for someone who worked with tin or sheet metal, derived from German word blech, meaning tin.

518337192Boggess (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is derived from the Middle English word boggish, meaning boastful or haughty.

Boice (my mother’s maternal line)
English/Welsh—This surname has a number of possible origins. It might describe someone who lived by a wood, hence deriving from the Old French word bois, probably introduced after the Norman Conquest. It might be a patronymic from the Middle English occupational word boy, meaning a lad or young servant. Finally, it might derive from an Old English and Welsh pre-7th century personal name Boia.

Boon/Boone (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Old French and Anglo-Saxon origin and has two possible sources, each with its own derivation and meaning. It might be Norman-French, deriving from a nickname for a good person from the Old French word bon, meaning good, itself from the Latin word bonus. The name was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest and might have been bestowed in a complimentary or ironic sense on a good person. The second possible source is also from a nickname, found recorded mainly in the north of England—Bain, a name given to an exceptionally tall, lean person. The derivation in this instance is from the Old English pre-7th Century word ban, meaning bone. In northern dialects, the long “a” was preserved, whereas in the southern dialect it was changed to an “o” sound.

Boppard (my father’s paternal line)
German—This surname is most likely locational in origin from a town in the Rheinland-Pfalz state called Boppard.

Borthwick (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is locational from the ancient barony of Borthwick by Borthwick Water in the former county of Roxburghshire, Scotland.

0127-HistoriatedAlphabet-letter-b-q75-500x453Boscawen (my mother’s maternal line)
English/Cornish—The surname comes from Boscawen-Un, stone circle near the village of St Buryan, Cornwall, dating from the Bronze Age (the period between 2100 to 750 BC).

Bouchard (my brother-in-law’s paternal family)
French—The surname Bouchard is a Norman name, combining the French word bourgh, meaning a town or village under the shadow of a castle, with the German word hard, meaning brave or strong” (heard), see Burkhardt. It is also a French nickname for someone with a big mouth, derived from the word bouche.

Bowne (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is one of the earliest topographical surnames existing today. The derivation is from the Old English pre-7th Century word burna or burne, meaning spring or stream. It was originally used as a topographic name for someone who lived beside a stream. In the south of England, the term was gradually replaced by the Old English word broc, meaning brook, and came to be restricted in meaning to an intermittently flowing stream, especially one that flowed only in winter. This meaning of bourn is still found in the dialects of Kent, Surrey and Wiltshire. In the North, however, the word burn is still used for a stream.

Boyd (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Scottish/Irish—This surname is of Scottish and Irish origin and is thought to be locational from the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, the place name being of uncertain etymology. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace.

Boyer (my father’s paternal line)
English—This surname is an occupational surname for a maker or seller of bows, an important and respected profession in medieval England. It derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word boga, itself from the word bugar, meaning to bend, as well as from the Middle English words bow and boiwyere.

062-hans-holbein-1523-death-letter-b-q87-500x500Bradley (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This is an early medieval Anglo-Scottish surname originates either from the varied villages called Bradley or from now lost places. This surname is derived from the pre-7th century English word bradleah, meaning of a broad clearing suitable for agriculture.

Bradshaw (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of pre-7th century Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational from any one of the places called Bradshaw in the counties of Derbyshire, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire. The place is first recorded as Bradeshaghe in 1246, from the Old English word brad, meaning broad or wide, with sceaga, a thicket or grove.

Braun (my stepfather’s family)
German—This surname is from German word braun, meaning brown (Middle High German word, brun), It referred to the color of the hair, complexion, or clothing, or from the personal name Bruno, which was borne by the Dukes of Saxony, among others, from the 10th century or before. It was also the name of several medieval German and Italian saints, including St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian order (1030–1101).

Brendel  (my father’s maternal line)
German/English—This early surname is of pre-5th century Germanic origins. Recorded in more than 50 different spellings, it usually derives from the male given name Brando. This is itself a short form of a popular compound personal name such as Hildebrand and originates from brinnan, meaning a flash, as in a flash of lightning. The name can also be topographical and relate to a person who lived by a brant, an area of agricultural land, one which was cleared by fire

Brewer (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and might be an occupational surname for a brewer of beer or ale, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word, breowan, meaning to brew, later evolving to the Middle English word brewere.

051-16th-Century-letter-b-q97-2719x2908Bridger (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This name is of English topographic origin for someone who lived by a bridge. The derivation is from the Medieval English brigge, itself coming from the Old English pre-7th Century word brycg, meaning bridge. Toponymics formed by the addition of -er to some topographical feature i.e. a bridge, brook etc., were particularly common in Sussex in the early 14th Century. The -er meant a dweller at.

Bright (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This is a Medieval English nickname or given name meaning bright, fair, or beautiful. The name derives from the Old English pre-7th century word beorht, meaning bright or shining. It may also be a short form of the Olde English personal name Beorhthelm—a compound of the elements beorht (bright) and helm (helmet).

Brome (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is either a locational or a topographical surname. As a locational surname, it derives from any one of the various places called Broom in Bedfordshire, Durham and Worcestershire, Broome in Norfolk, Shropshire and Warwickshire, and Brome, in Suffolk. Most of the places are recorded in the Domesday Book as Brume or Brom and all share the same meaning and derivation from the Old English pre-7th Century word brom, meaning (place of) broom or gorse. As a topographical surname, it denotes residence near a place where broom grew.

Brooke (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This surname of Old English origins is habitational from one who lived at one of the villages called Brook or for someone who lived by a brook. However, some research suggests that for many nameholders the origin was job descriptive, deriving from the Norman French word broc, meaning pitcher or ewer, and as such was a metonymic for one who delivered fresh water from such a vessel.

Brossman (my father’s paternal line)
German: The first half of the surname is from the Middle High German word brossen, meaning to sprout or bud, hence an affectionate nickname for a young son. The second half of the surname comes from the Middle High German word mann, a nickname for a fierce or strong man or for a man contrasted with a boy. In some cases, it may have arisen as an occupational name for a servant from the medieval use of the term to describe a person of inferior social status.

48baf6d55750069008a84ca8166e7ce8Broughman (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
Scottish—The roots of this surname reach back to the language of the Viking settlers who populated the rigged shores of Scotland in the medieval era and us derived from the locations where they resided, such as Overbrough and Netherborugh in Harray, Orkney Islands.

Browne (my mother’s maternal line and my mother’s paternal line)
England and Ireland—This surname (spelled as Browne) is much associated with Ireland. It originates from the Old English, Norse-Viking, and Anglo-Saxon pre-7th century word brun. It was originally a nickname for either a person of brown hair or swarthy complexion or for one who habitually wore brown clothing. If the latter, the nickname might refer to a member of a holy order, many of whom wore brown.

Bruce/Brus (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is of Norman-French origin and is a locational name either from an extensive fortress built by Adam de Brus at Brix between Cherbourg and Valognes, Normandy, or from Brieuze, a place less than 10 miles from Falaise, Normandy.

Bruehl/Broyles (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This was topographic name for someone who lived by a swampy area, from the Middle High German word, brüel, or Middle Low German word brul, both which mean swampy land with brushwood. This surname is also a habitational name for someone from Brühl, Germany. At some point, this surname became Americanized to Broyles.

Bryant (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
Irish—This interesting surname is of Old Breton-Irish origin and derives from the Celtic personal name Brian. It is believed to contain the element bre, meaning hill or brigh, meaning strong. Breton bearers of the name were among the Normans who invaded England in 1066, and they later went on to invade and settle in Ireland in the 12th century, where the name became confused with a native Irish version. That version was derived by descendants of Brian Boru, who rose to the high kingship of Ireland in 1002. This native Irish name had also been borrowed by Vikings, who introduced it independently in North West England before the Norman Conquest.

b_10803_lgBuchanan  (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish
—This long-established surname, having no less than 17 Coats of Arms and with several notable entries in the Dictionary of National Biography, is of Old Scottish origin. It is a locational name from the district of Buchanan, northwest of Drymen in Stirlingshire. It is from the Gaelic word buth, meaning house, and chanain, meaning of the canon.

Burkhart (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This surname is derived from the German word burg, meaning castle, and hart, meaning hard. Saint Burkhard was a bishop who founded several monasteries in Germany in the 8th century.

Busch/Bush (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
German—This topographic surname indicated one who lives close to a thicket or wood, coming from Middle High German word busch, meaning bush. It can also be a habitational name from a place named with this word. pre-7th century Norse-Viking word buski.

Butler  (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This aristocratic surname is of Norman-French origins and is one of the very few to be accepted as pre-1066 in origin and recording and even rarer still to be recorded in France. This surname is job descriptive, deriving the Old French word bouteillier, meaning one who supplies the bottles, specifically wine. However, Bouteillier in the surname sense defines status in a royal or at least noble household.

Whew!  I am so glad I finally documented through all those surnames. I am pretty certain I now have writer’s cramp! Well, once I recover from these “killer” Bs, I will start researching the C surnames in our families. Stay tuned…


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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