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Surname Meanings

The meanings of surnames is often confused with last names and their meanings. However, surnames are synonymous with "sir names" and thus the meanings are not the same at all.

Etymologically speaking, surname meanings come from the paternal side or "sir" side or some say "sire" side of the genealogical tree. This is a tree, of course that sprouts lots of fruits and nuts throughout its many branches.

In the movie "To Sir With Love", Sidney Poitier plays teacher Mark Thackeray. So, Thackeray is thus the "sir" name or surname if you will of this character, not because it is last, but simply because it indicates a title of respect due the teacher of these exceptionally obnoxious East London kids.

Other surnames may include those of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Richard Branson and Sir Elton John. In the case of EJ, John may be seen as a first name, last name and surname all in one shot. Now, this is indeed a powerful and flexible name indeed!

Surnames are all about respect. If you respect someone, you call him by his surname. The meaning of this surname is usually associated with the parcel of land he came from or from the first thing the parents saw while the mother was giving birth.

For instance, in North Indian culture if the mother was giving birth was a bear ran by then the child was called Running Bear. If a deer standing proudly on a mountain top was spotted, then the child would be called Proud Buck. If, however, a bitch was taking a poop in the bush, then the child would be called Squatting Dog. The surname meanings in these cases were linked to nature and the element of chance.

In the case of the surname meanings being tied to the land that the family was bore upon, this was ideal until families started to migrate. For instance, the surname of Stoltenberg may mean "Proud Mountain" in German even if the family migrated to the coast. The surname of Jordan means "river of judgment" as it is connected to the Euphrates, even if the family migrated to the mountains.

Surname meanings also many times were connected to the father's profession. As an example, the Taylors most often created clothing, the Smiths were blacksmiths, the Bathmakers were bath makers and the Dykes were, well, dammed to their alternative lifestyles.

So, one can see that the surname meanings have many sources. In the end, most of us are very disconnected from the origins of those meanings. The good news is that we've progressed far beyond Og and Grogg as surnames. Now days, we can even pick our own surnames and the meanings behind them in a court of law, if desired. Now, that's progress.



 
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