Taylor-Thomas Line

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 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

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