Spangler-Kenney Line

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 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 C

c

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


Now that the B names have been documented (Finally, hallelujah!), next up is the letter C. Thankfully, there are way fewer C surnames in our families, so here goes:

rose_capital_c_monogramCaimi  (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—Although the family with surname came from the Lombardy region of Italy, the origin of this surname does not appear to be Italian. In Portuguese or Spanish, this surname is roughly translated into cai, meaning falls, and mi, meaning me. In Romanian, this surname is exactly translated into cai, meaning horses, and mi, meaning my.

Cain  (my mother’s paternal line)
English/Welsh—This surname might be of Old French origin and is either a nickname for a tall, thin man; a metonymic occupational name for someone who gathered reeds, used as floor covering and for weaving small baskets; or a topographical name for someone who lived in a damp area overgrown with reeds. This surname derives from the Middle English/Old French word cane, meaning cane or reed. Next, it might be a Norman locational name from the town of Caen in Normandy. Finally, it might be of Welsh origin from the Welsh word cain, meaning beautiful.

Cameron  (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname has two origins. As a Highland clan name, it represents a nickname from the Gaelic word cam, meaning crooked or bent, and the word sron, meaning nose. In the Lowlands, it is normally a locational name from any of the various places, all of which show early forms, such as Cambrun from the Gaelic words cam and brun, meaning hill.

letter-c-with-little-angelCampbell  (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This ancient surname has its origins in a Gaelic nickname Caimbeul, meaning wry (or crooked) mouth, from the word cam, meaning bent or crooked, and the word beul, meaning mouth. It was originally a nickname can be seen by a charter of 1447, which records Duncan le Cambeli, the first Lord Campbell, the “le” being the Scottish word lie, meaning so-called or known as.

Camper/Kemper  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This is a German status name denoting a peasant farmer or serf, an agent noun derivative of Kamp. In German and possibly Dutch, this was a habitational name from any of the 12 places named Kempen in the Dutch-German border area. In Dutch, this surname is also a derivative of the surname Kemp, an occupational name for someone who grew, processed, or utilized hemp.

Carminow  (my mother’s maternal line)
Cornish—This surname is taken from Carminow, a manor and barton in the parish of St. Mawgan in Meneage, Cornwall. The name is derived from the words car and minow, meaning either the little rock or the little city (there is some disagreement on the precise meaning). Also, there is a place in Gunwalloe called Carminnow.

letter-c-medieval-manuscriptCarpenter/Zimmerman/Zimmermann  (my father’s paternal line)
German—This is an occupational name for a carpenter, originating from the Middle High German word zimbermann (a compound of the words zimber or zim(m)er, meaning timber or wood, and the word mann, meaning man.

Caton  (my father’s paternal line)
English—This surname of Medieval English origin is locational from places in Derbyshire and Lancashire. The derivation of the former is the Old English personal name Cade, a survival from a Germanic root meaning lump or swelling, which might have been applied to a large person.

Catron  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Catron surname lived in or near the settlement of Catterall, which is located between Preston and Garstang in the county of Lancashire. It has also been suggested that the surname Catron might be derived from a pet form of the name Caterin, which is a form of the personal name Catharine, which became popular following its importation in the 12th Century. This surname is also the Americanized form of the surname Kettering. Finally, it might be a French surname, from a pet form of the personal name Catherine.

PSX_PEB2015Chamberlain/Chamberlin  (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Old French origin and is an occupational name for a chamberlain, the official in charge of the private chambers of his master. This term was later a title of high rank. The derivation of this name is from the Old French and Anglo-Norman French words c(h)ambrelain, cambrelane, and cambrelen(c), meaning chamberlain. The Italian cognate camerlengo was given to a manager of a pontifical court.

Chandler  (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is an occupational name for a maker or seller of candles. It is derived from the Middle English word cha(u)ndeler; from the Old French word chandelier; the late Latin word candelarius; the word candela, a candle; and the word candere, to be bright, along with the suffix -er, one who does or works with (something).

Chapline/Chaplyn  (my father’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of French and English origin, deriving from the old Norman French word caplain and the Old French and Medieval English word chapelain, meaning a charity priest, who was endowed to sing mass daily on behalf of the souls of the dead. Hence, the name is an occupational name for a clergyman or perhaps a servant of one.

16th-Century-letter-cCharnock  (my mother’s paternal line)
Welsh—This is a locational surname name from either Heath Charnock or Charnock Richard in Lancashire and are derived of the Welsh word carn, meaning rock or stone.

Chesney  (my mother‘s paternal line)
English/French—A locational name referring the village of Le Quesnoy in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region of France. The name originates from the Latin word casnetum, which became the French word chesnai, meaning a dweller by the oak grove.

Chevillon  (my father’s paternal line)
French—A locational surname derived from Chevillon, the name or partial name of the following communes in France: Chevillon, Haute-Marne; Chevillon, Yonne; and Chevillon-sur-Huillard, Loiret.

cecfee4f00a07c2fad43e4c2b11f0162Chilton  (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a locational surname from any of the several places thus called in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Durham, Hampshire, Kent, Shropshire, Somerset, Suffolk, and Wiltshire. It derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word cild, meaning child, (frequently used to describe a youth of noble birth), and the word tun, meaning a settlement or enclosure. In Somerset, this surname gets its first element from the Old English word cealc, meaning chalk or limestone. On the Isle of Wight, this surname derives from the personal byname Ceola from the word ceol, meaning ship.

Christian  (my mother‘s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Old French origin, deriving from the personal name Christian, which comes from the Latin word Christianus, meaning follower of Christ. This male given name was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest, especially by Breton settlers. It was also used in the same form as a female name. In some cases, the surname may be metronymic in origin.

Chudleigh  (my mother’s maternal line)
English—The name is Old English pre-7th century and means Cedda’s leah (farm), with Cedda being an early personal name of uncertain origin or meaning. For more than 700 years, this locational surname has been found in county of Devonshire, specifically from the villages of Broadclyst, Ashton, and Chudleigh. The village of Chudleigh was first recorded in 1259 as Cheddeleghe and in 1290 as Chuddlegh.

42930c9f22d753adafe97eb6c296e0f6Church  (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
English—This surname, with variant forms Churcher and Churchman, derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word cyrice, meaning church. It was ultimately from the Greek word kyricaon, meaning house of the Lord. This surname was originally given either as a topographical name to one resident by a church or as an occupational name to an official in charge of a church. Finally, the name might be locational from Church, a village in Lancashire.

Clémenceau/Clement  (my mother’s maternal line, two different branches)
French and English—The surname Clémenceau originated in Poitou, France and is derived from the popular French given name Clement, which is derived from the Latin word clemens, meaning mild or merciful. An early saint who was a disciple of St. Paul bore this name, and it was selected by a number of early popes; in fact, there were at least 11 Clements elected by the year 1046. Although predominantly a male name, many nameholders do originate from the female Clementia, meaning mercy.

Clugston  (my stepfather’s maternal line)
Scottish—This is a habitational surname from the barony of Clugston in the parish of Kirkinner, Scotland. The name is found several times in the records of Cupar Angus Abbey. It might be from the name of a place from the past in that area.

Headpiece for the letter C 1834 - Landais, NapoléonCoffin  (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname, which is of Norman French origin, was introduced to England after the Norman Invasion of 1066. It is a medieval descriptive nickname, developed from the Latin word calrus, meaning bald, then through the later French word chauf, plus the diminutive ending -in, a short form of the word kin. This nickname, therefore, means the son of the bald one.

Cole  (my mother’s maternal line, two different branches)
EnglishThis English, Irish, and occasionally Scottish surname is generally accepted as deriving from the personal name Nicholas, itself of Ancient Greek origin. It might also have derived from the Old English pre-7th century byname Cola, meaning black. This presumably denoted one of dark or swarthy appearance and possibly might have described a Dane or Anglo-Saxon.

Coleman  (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
English/Irish—This surname has a number of possible origins. The first is of both Irish and English origin from the Old Irish personal name Colman, derived from Columban, a compound of the Gaelic elements colm, meaning dove, and ban, meaning white. This name was adopted by Scandinavians as the Old Norse Kalman and was introduced into Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Yorkshire by Norwegians from Ireland. The second source is of Anglo-Saxon origin and was given as an occupational name for a burner of charcoal or a gatherer of coal, from the Middle English word coleman, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word col, meaning (char) coal and mann, meaning man. This source of the surname is the same as that of the surname Collier. Another possible source is also of English origin from an occupational name for the servant of a man named Cole, Middle English a personal name derived from the Old English byname Cola from the word col, meaning coal and used to describe someone with a dark or swarthy complexion.

cherubsColles  (my mother‘s paternal line)
English—This surname is a variant of the medieval surname Cole or Coll from Colin, a short form of the personal name Nicholas. The derivation of the name is from the Greek name Nikolaos, composed of the elements nikan, to conquer, and laos, people. Nicholas and its variants and diminutives was a popular name in the Middle Ages, partly due to the fame of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children and sailors. Coliln as a surname can also derive from the Old Scandinavian personal name Kollr, Koll or Kolli, an example of this source is found in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Col and later (1204) as Colle, Colls, Coules, and Cowles are the patronymic forms of the name, the final “s” being a reduced form of son of.

Comyn  (my mother’s paternal line, three different branches)
Scottish—The Comyn surname is of Norman or Flemish origin. The surname is either a place-name, possibly derived from Bosc-Bénard-Commin, near Rouen in the Duchy of Normandy, or from Comines, near Lille, France. It might also be derived from the Breton/Celtic element cam, meaning bent or crooked.

Connell  (my mother‘s paternal line)
Irish—This surname is widespread in the Auchry area of Aberdeenshire and in the Province of Ulster. It is an Anglicized form of the old Scots Gaelic names Siol Cuin or Con, meaning the seed or race of Con. It could also be a byname from the Gaelic word con, meaning hound.

65373_letter-c_mthContee  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
French—Contee is a French variant of the Conte or Conté surnames. This surname is from the noble title conte, meaning count (derived from the Latin words comes or  comitis, meaning companion. This was a medieval personal name; as a title, it was no doubt descriptive of someone who worked in the service of a count or for someone who behaved in a pretentious manner.

Corbet (my mother‘s paternal line)
Scottish—This Anglo-Scottish surname is of Norman-French origin. It comes from the French word corbet, meaning little raven. In heraldry, the raven is highly respected and known for its ferocity.

Cornwall  (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
English—This surname is either a locational name from Cornwall in Oxfordshire from the Old English pre-7th Century word corn, a metathesized form of cron or cran, meaning crane, plus the word well(a), meaning spring or stream. It could also be a regional name from the county of Cornwall, from the Old English pre-7th Century tribal name Cornwealas. This is from Kernow, the native name that the Cornish used to denote themselves of uncertain etymology, perhaps connected with a Celtic element meaning horn, meaning headland, compounded with the Old English pre-7th Century word wealas, meaning strangers or foreigners.

william-morris-letter-c copyCouwenhoven/Van Couwenhoven  (my mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—This surname has been a more difficult one. Although a neighborhood named Couwenhoven exists in Zeist, Netherlands, this is a recent location. Since this is too recent to be the inspiration for a locational surname, I decided to research to see how the components of this surname translate in the Dutch language. Couwen is the Middle Dutch word meaning to chew. It is derived from the Old Dutch word kiuwan, itself derived from the Proto-Germanic word kewwaną, also meaning to chew. Hoven means courts in Dutch. It is the plural form of hof, coming from the Old Dutch word hof and the Proto-Germanic word hufą, meaning house, hall, or estate.

Cox  (my mother’s maternal line, my mother’s paternal line, and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname has several possible origins. First, it might have been a nickname—rooster, deriving from the Old English pre-7th Century word cocc, applied to a young boy who strutted proudly like a cock. But as cock became a common term for a boy, it may also have been used affectionately as a personal name. The nickname might also have referred to a natural leader, an early riser, or an aggressive individual. It might also have derived from the Old English personal names Cocc or Cocca, found in placenames. The third possibility is that it might be of topographical origin for a dweller by the hill, deriving from the Old English word cocc, meaning haycock, heap, or hillock. In London, it probably originated from the sign of a house or inn.

Craft/Kraft  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This is a nickname for a strong man, from the Old High German word kraft, meaning strength or power. The Swedish name probably originated as a soldier’s name. In part, the German and Danish names possibly also derive from a late survival of the same word used as a by-name, Old High German Chraft(o) or the Old Norse Kraptr.

bloomCrichton (my mother’s paternal line)
Scotland—This surname is of Scottish and English origin and is locational from a place near Utloxeter in Staffordshire and Crichton near Edinburgh in Scotland. The derivation of Creighton (in Staffordshire) is from the Old Welsh pre-7th Century word, creic, meaning a rock, and tun, meaning a farm or settlement, thus a place built on a ridge. However, the placename in Scotland is derived from the Gaelic word crioch, meaning a border or boundary and the Old English pre-7th Century word tun, meaning a farm on a boundary.

Crossman/Croasmun  (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a topographic name for someone who lived by a stone cross, from Old Norse word kross, meaning cross, and the Middle English word man, meaning man. In German, the surname is spelled as Crossmann or Crössmann. The first might be a habitational name from any of several places called Crossen in Saxony, Brandenburg, and East Prussia or derived from Grossmann. The second is possibly from the Middle Low German word kros or krüs, meaning pitcher, and hence a metonymic occupational name for maker of these. Alternatively, it might be a metonymic occupational name for a butcher, from the Middle High German word kroese, meaning tripe.

Culatina  (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—Discovering the origin of this surname has proved very difficult. I can only postulate some possible origins. First, the feminine singular form of the Italian adjective calatino is calatina. Calatina is a person of or from Caltagirone, a town in Sicily. However, as the Culatina (with a “u”, not an “a”) family is based in the Lombardy, a northern region of Italy, and Sicily is a large island at the southern tip of Italy, locationally this might not be feasible. Second, in Italian, cu is the name of the letter Q, and latina is the feminine singular version of latinus, meaning a speaker of Latin. In the Greek Hesiod’s Theogony, Latinus was the son of Odysseus and Circe who ruled the Tyrsenoi, presumably the Etruscans, with his brothers Ardeas and Telegonus. Latinus is also referred to, by much later authors, as the son of Pandora II and brother of Graecus. In the Roman Virgil’s Aeneid, Latinus/Lavinius, was a king of the Latins. He is sometimes described as the son of Faunus and Marica and father of Lavinia with his wife, Amata. He hosted Aeneas’s army of exiled Trojans and offered them the chance to reorganize their life in Latium. Finally, this surname might be a combination of the Romanian word culă, a semi-fortified building found in the Oltenia region of Romania, and Tina, a village in the Livezi commune of Vâlcea County, Romania, also in the Oltenia region.

ornateltrc-lgCuntze/Koontz  (my spouse’s father’s maternal line and my father’s paternal line)
German—This surname (in its many variations) was first found in Bohemia and Silesia, where the name was an integral part of the feudal society.  The name originated as a shortened form of Konrad, meaning bold adviser.

Curtis  (my mother’s paternal line)
English—After the Norman Conquest, many French words appeared in the English vernacular. Such is the case with this surname, which was derived from the Old French words Corteis or Curteis meaning refined or accomplished, and was originally given as a nickname to a man of good education.

That’s it for Cs, folks! Stay tuned for the D 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: Caimi-Culatina Line, Cole-Marriner Line, Harwick-Bush Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark 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

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter A

a

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


Since A is the first letter of the alphabet, let’s start there:

letter

Abernathy (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This famous clan surname has an uncertain etymology. It would seem that the name is locational from the Monastery of Abernethy in Strathearn; however, it is possible that the origin might be occupational. In ancient times, families would be granted a hereditary status for maintaining and improving church lands and property. This was a form of over-tenancy common in Gaelic regions as the erenagh, a lay lord—in the case of Abernethy, an abbot—whose family held the office from generation to generation. What is known is that the first nameholder Áed, son of Gille Míchéil. Áed was the Abbot of Abernethy, and he was succeeded by his son Orm.

Achenbach (my father’s paternal line)
German—Habitational name from places in Hesse and Westphalia named Achenbach, from the obsolete word ach or ache, meaning running water or stream, and the word bach, meaning brook.

051-16th-Century-letter-a-q97-2719x2908

Addleborough (my mother’s maternal line)
English—A possible locational surname for person originating from either Aldborough or Attleborough. Aldborough is a village in the civil parish of Boroughbridge in the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.  In the Domesday Book, Aldborough was referred to as Burgh (from the Old English word, burh, meaning ancient fortification). By 1145, the prefix ald (meaning old) had been added. Attleborough is a market town and civil parish between Norwich and Thetford in Norfolk, England. The Anglo-Saxon foundation of the settlement is unrecorded. A popular theory of the town’s origin makes it a foundation of an Atlinge, and certainly burgh (or burh) indicates that it was fortified at an early date. According to the mid-12th Century hagiographer of Saint Edmund, Galfridus de Fontibus, Athla was the founder of the ancient and royal town of Attleborough in Norfolk. In the Domesday Book, it is referred to as Attleburc.

Alden (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—Alden is a medieval English surname, deriving from the personal name of the pre-7th Century ealdwine, meaning old friend. The Latinized version, Aldanus, and Alden are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Another early recording although not as a surname is that of Gamel filius Alden in the Pipe Rolls of Westmorland in 1196.

v1p055-historiated-initial-letter-a-q75-500x474

Allemong/Allamon (my spouse’s stepfather’s paternal family)
German—This surname derives from the Alemanni were a confederation of Germanic tribes on the upper Rhine river. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla of 213, the Alemanni captured the Agri Decumates in 260, and later expanded into present-day Alsace, and northern Switzerland, leading to the establishment of the Old High German language in those regions. In 496, the Alemanni were conquered by Frankish leader Clovis and incorporated into his fold. Mentioned as still pagan allies of the Christian Franks, the Alemanni were gradually Christianized during the 7th Century. The Pactus Alamannorum is a record of their customary law during this period. Until the 8th Century, Frankish suzerainty over Alemannia was mostly nominal. But after an uprising by Theudebald, Duke of Alamannia, Carloman executed the Alamannic nobility and installed Frankish dukes. During the later and weaker years of the Carolingian Empire the Alemannic counts became almost independent, and a struggle for supremacy took place between them and the Bishopric of Constance. The chief family in Alamannia was that of the counts of Raetia Curiensis, who were sometimes called margraves. One such margrave, Burchard II, established the Duchy of Swabia, which was recognized by Henry the Fowler in 919 and became a stem duchy of the Holy Roman Empire. The area settled by the Alemanni corresponds roughly to the area where Alemannic German dialects remain spoken, including German Swabia and Baden, French Alsace, German-speaking Switzerland, and Austrian Vorarlberg.

Allen (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This distinguished surname, with more than 50 heraldic Coats of Arms granted to name holders and having several notable entries in the British Dictionary of National Biography, is equally widespread in England, Scotland and Ireland. It derives from the Gaelic and Breton personal name of the pre-Christian era Ailin, which loosely translates as little rock, although it may also mean harmony. The first recorded name bearer was Alawn, a legendary poet of the 5th Century, reputed to be one of the three foremost musicians of the period. From early times the spelling form has varied considerably not least in the Celtic countries where it has ranged from Eilian to Alwyn and Alleyne. The Bretons, who were originally British settlers in France, returned as invaders with William, Duke of Normandy, otherwise known as The Conqueror, in 1066; in so doing, it is claimed, re-introduced the name into England. Certainly Alanus, without a surname, is recorded in the Domesday Book for the county of Suffolk.

AAmes (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of medieval English origin, and derives from the Old French given name (or nickname) Amis, meaning friends, ultimately from the Latin amicus, a derivative of amare, a word that means to love. The name was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the forms Amicia (feminine) and Amicus (masculine) are recorded respectively in documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1189, and in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire, dated 1211. One Rogerus filius (son of) Ami was noted in the Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Norfolk, circa 1250, and a Robert Amys appears in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire.

Anderson (my spouse’s father’s maternal line and my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English and Scottish— Of English and Scottish origin, this surname is a patronymic of the surname Andrew, which is derived from the personal name from the Greek Andreas, a derivative of andreios, mainly from aner, meaning man, male. The personal name was first recorded as Andreas in the Domesday Book, and the surname was first recorded in Scotland with one John Andree, who was present at the perambulation of the boundaries of Kyrknes and Louchor in 1395.

church-letterAppleton (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—Of Anglo-Saxon origin, this surname is locational. Several places are called Appleton, in the counties of Cumberland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Cheshire, Berkshire and Kent. Recorded as Apeltun and Epletune in the Domesday Book for the various counties, the name derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word aeppeltun, meaing an orchard—a compound of aeppel, an apple, and tun, an enclosure or settlement.

Arbaugh (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—A form of Arbach, this surname is a habitational name from any of several places called Arbach, as for example a village in the Rhineland, west of Koblenz, which is named from Middle High German ar(n), meaning eagle, and bach, meaning brook.

795fee76d86e039bc2f8d21e8f021343Archambault (my brother-in-law’s paternal family)
French—This surname was originally derived from the Latin word Arcambaldus. However, according to etymologists, this Old French personal name of Germanic origin, is composed of the Old High German word ercan, meaning precious or excellent, and bald, meaning bold or daring.

Ardinger (my father’s maternal line)
German—A varient of Erdinger, this locational surname for person originating from Erding, one of the oldest parts of Bavaria. Erding was located midway between two centers of power in the Wittelsbach state, Munich and Landshut. Circa 1230, a castle was built on the River Sempt in order to secure the road. This castle grew to become the city of Erding.

009-initial-cap-a-scholars-books-q90-908x924Arenghi (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—From the Medieval Latin word, arengum, meaning ring or circle, Arenghi is the plural form of Arengo. The Arengo was the name of the assembly that ruled San Marino, a mountainous microstate surrounded by Italy, from the 5th Century to 1243. San Marino might possibly be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, as the continuation of the monastic community founded on 3 Sep 301, by stonecutter Marinus of Arba. Legend has it that  Marinus left Rab, then the Roman colony of Arba, in 257, when the future emperor Diocletian issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini, which had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates.

Arter (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family)
Scottish and English—This surname is the subject of some controversy regarding its origins. Certainly, it derives from the Celtic personal name Arthur, but there is some doubt as to the etymology of the name. It is thought to be composed of Old Welsh word arth, meaning bear, and the Old Welsh word gwr, meaning hero. The Old Norse personal name Arnthorr, derived from arn, eagle, and Þórr (pronounced Thor), the God of Thunder, has been absorbed into the Celtic name Arthur, the legendary King of the Britons, who fought against the Saxon invaders.

InitialAArtley/Ertley (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family)
English and German—Although this is a known English surname, the original family surname was spelled Ertley. This family was of Germanic background. As of this time, I have discovered no concrete entomology for this surname. However, I can postulate that this name derives from Ertle/Ertel, a surname originating from South Germany from the Old High German word ort, meaning point (of a sword or lance), tip, or extremity. Specifically, this was a German name for someone who lived at the top of a hill or at the end of a settlement.

Asbury (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This name is of English locational origin from a place in Cheshire called Astbury, recorded as Esteburi circa 1100 in the Pipe Rolls of that county, and as Asteburi circa 1180. The name derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word este, meaning east, and burh, meaning a fortified town.

2.3.1_Acap_large_600x580pxAtwood (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a very old topographical surname of Anglo-Saxon origin for someone who lived by a wood. The name derives from the Old English pre-7th Century word aet, meaning at, with the Old English word wudu, meaning wood.

Audley (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational in origin, deriving from the place called Audley in Staffordshire. This place name is recorded in the Domesday Book as Aldidelege and in the Staffordshire Pipe Rolls of 1182 as Aldithelega. The name means Ealdgith’s glade, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century female personal name Ealdgyð, composed of the elements eald, meaning old; gyth, meaning battle; and leah, meaning clearing in the woods, glade.

62370_letter-a_lgAvent (my mother’s maternal line)
French and English—This surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It derives from the Old French word auenant, the present participle of the verb avenir, meaning to arrive, happen, or come to.

Aynsdale (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Although a variation of spelling, the origin of this surname is most likely locational, referring to one who originated in Ainsdale, in the county of Lancashire.


Well, that’s it for the A surnames in our families. Next up are the B names

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, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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