Recent Advances in the Study of Surnames


By David Hey, published 1st December 2003

Many surnames have a straightforward meaning. It is obvious that names such as Smith, Wright and Turner come from occupations; that names such as Pickering or York are from the names of places; and that Roberts, Robertson, Robson and Robinson are derived from the same personal name. It is not quite so obvious that Alabaster and Frobisher are also occupational names; that Staniforth or Sowerbutts come from place-names and that the Dobsons also had an ancestor called Robert. We might make a wrong guess at the meaning of Belcher (Norman French for ‘fine face’) or Tickle (from Tickhill in Yorkshire) and few of us are likely to know that Stopford comes from the former name of Stockport. Clearly, there are many pitfalls for the unwary. Specialist knowledge is needed to interpret...

This resource is FREE for Historian HA Members.

Non HA Members can get instant access for £2.75

Add to Basket Join the HA