By P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson
This vintage dictionary solutions questions resembling those and explains the origins of over 16,000 names in present English use. it is going to be a resource of fascination to each person with an curiosity in names and their historical past.
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Extra resources for A Dictionary of English Surnames
The complete disappearance of these personal-names proves that the surnames must have become hereditary. There is also evidence of a marked difference between north and south and a hint of a variation in the rate of development in the southern counties themselves. Much detailed work remains to be done before the full facts can be known. But it appears that surnames among the common people became hereditary later than those of the upper classes. They are found in the thirteenth century and are well established in the south by the middle of the fourteenth.
The West Riding Poll-tax of 1379 (19,600 names) provides material quite unlike that found in the south and paralleled only by the East Riding Poll-tax of 1381. The filius-type of name is much less common than in 1327; that in -son much more common. What is noticeable is the frequency of names in -wyf, and -doghter and those of servants in -man, -servant, -woman, -mayden, besides names indicating other relationships in -brother, cosyn, -syster, -stepson: Matilda Hanwyfe, Elena Hobsonwyf, Beatrice Clerkwyf, Alice Caresonewyf, Dionisia Raulynwyf, Johanna Jackewyf Matilda ffoxdoghter, Isabella Shephirddoghter, Johanna Rosedoghter, Johanna Malkyndoghter, Magota Stevendoghter, Johana Robyndoghter In two instances we have a man’s surname: Robertus ffelisdoghter et Cecilia vxor ejus; Richard Wryghtdoghter John Websterman, Thomas Masonman.
Bretts in Aveley owes its name to John le Bret ‘the Breton’. 31 In Essex, too, we find a twelfth-century, Mingghi. This Breton influence has left no small mark on our modern surnames. The Celtic Element Although Welsh surnames, as distinct from characteristic Welsh patronymic descriptions, were very late formations, the not inconsiderable number of immigrants from Wales into the border counties found their personal names treated exactly like English names in the formation of surnames. Thus surnames were formed from Welsh personal names and became hereditary in England long before hereditary surnames were known in Wales.
A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson