What is a surname?In the Anglophonic world, a surname is commonly referred to as the last name because it is usually placed at the end of a person's full name, after any given name. In many parts of Asia and in some parts of Europe and Africa, the family name is placed before a person's given name. In most and countries, two surnames are commonly used or, in some families, three or even more, often because of family claims to nobility. Surnames have not always existed and are still not universal in some cultures. The tradition has arisen separately in different cultures around the world. In Europe, the concept of surnames became popular in the and expanded throughout the and Western Europe as a result. During the Middle Ages, that practice died out as Germanic, Persian and other influences took hold. During the late Middle Ages surnames gradually re-emerged, first in the form of bynames, which typically indicated an individual's occupation or area of residence, and gradually evolving into modern surnames. In China surnames have been the norm since at least the 2nd century BC. A family name is typically a part of a person's and, according to law or custom, is passed or given to children from at least one of their parents' family names. The use of family names is common in most cultures around the world, but each culture has its own rules as to how the names are formed, passed, and used. However, the style of having both a family name (surname) and a given name (forename) is far from universal (see §History below). In many cultures, it is common for people to have one name or , with some cultures not using family names. In most and in , and , for example, there are different family name forms for male and female members of the family. Issues of family name arise especially on the passing of a name to a newborn child, the adoption of a common family name on marriage, the renunciation of a family name, and the changing of a family name. vary around the world. Traditionally in many European countries for the past few hundred years, it was the custom or the law for a woman, upon marriage, to use her husband's surname and for any children born to bear the father's surname. If a child's paternity was not known, or if the denied paternity, the newborn child would have the surname of the mother. That is still the custom or law in many countries. The surname for children of married parents is usually inherited from the father.Kelly, 99 W Va L Rev at 10; see id. at 10 n 25 (The custom of taking the father's surname assumes that the child is born to parents in a "state-sanctioned marriage". The custom is different for children born to unmarried parents.). Cited i
OriginsWhile the use of given names to identify individuals is attested in the oldest historical records, the advent of surnames is a relatively recent phenomenon. ''Note: content available by subscription only. The first page of content is available vi
Modern eraDuring the modern era, many cultures around the world adopted family names, particularly for administrative reasons, especially during the age of European expansion and particularly since 1600. Notable examples include the Netherlands (1795–1811), Japan (1870s), Thailand (1920), and Turkey (1934). The structure of the was formalized by the government as ''family name'' + ''given name'' in 1868. Nonetheless, the use of surnames is not universal: Icelanders, Burmese, Javanese, and many people groups in East Africa do not use family names. Family names sometimes change or are replaced by non-family-name surnames under political pressure to avoid persecution. Examples are the cases with and Chinese Thais after migration there during the 20th century or the Jews who fled to different European countries to avoid persecution from the Nazis during World War II. Other ethnic groups have been forced to change or add surnames to conform with the cultural norms of the dominant culture, such as in the case of enslaved people and indigenous people of the Americas.
Family name discrimination against women(ruled 1509–1547) ordered that marital births be recorded under the surname of the father. In England and cultures derived from there, there has long been a tradition for a woman to change her surname upon marriage from her to her husband's family name. (See .) In the Middle Ages, when a man from a lower-status family married an only daughter from a higher-status family, he would often adopt the wife's family name. In the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain, bequests were sometimes made contingent upon a man's changing (or hyphenating) his family name, so that the name of the continued. The United States followed the naming customs and practices of English common law and traditions until recent times. The first known instance in the United States of a woman insisting on the use of her birth name was that of in 1855, and there has been a general increase in the rate of women using their birth name. Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, traditional naming practices writes one commentator, were recognized as "com into conflict with current sensitivities about children's and women's rights". Those changes accelerated a shift away from the interests of the parents to a focus on the best interests of the child. The law in this area continues to evolve today mainly in the context of paternity and custody actions. Naming conventions in the US have gone through periods of flux, however, and the 1990s saw a decline in the percentage of name retention among women. As of 2006, more than 80% of American women adopted the husband's family name after marriage. It is rare but not unknown for an English-speaking man to take his wife's family name, whether for personal reasons or as a matter of tradition (such as among Canadian aboriginal groups, such as the and ). Upon marriage to a woman, men in the United States can easily change their surnames to that of their wives, or adopt a combination of both names with the federal government, through the . Men may face difficulty doing so on the state level in some states. It is exceedingly rare but does occur in the United States, where a married couple may choose an entirely new last name by going through a legal change of name. As an alternative, both spouses may adopt a . For instance, when John Smith and Mary Jones marry each other, they may become known as "John Smith-Jones" and "Mary Smith-Jones". A spouse may also opt to use their birth name as a middle name, and e.g. become known as "Mary Jones Smith". An additional option, although rarely practiced, is the adoption of the last name derived from a blend of the prior names, such as "Simones", which also requires a legal name change. Some couples keep their own last names but give their children hyphenated or combined surnames. In 1979, the United Nations adopted the '' '' ("CEDAW"), which declared in effect that women and men, and specifically wife and husband, shall have the same rights to choose a "family name", as well as a profession and an occupation. In some places, civil rights lawsuits or constitutional amendments changed the law so that men could also easily change their married names (e.g., in British Columbia and California). law permits neither spouse to change surnames. In France, until 1 January 2005, children were required by law to take the surname of their father. Article 311-21 of the French now permits parents to give their children the family name of either their father, mother, or hyphenation of both – although no more than two names can be hyphenated. In cases of disagreement, both names are used in alphabetical order. This brought France into line with a 1978 declaration by the requiring member governments to take measures to adopt equality of rights in the transmission of family names, a measure that was echoed by the United Nations in 1979. Similar measures were adopted by (1976), Sweden (1982), (1983), and Spain (1999). The European Community has been active in eliminating gender discrimination. Several cases concerning discrimination in family names have reached the courts. ''Burghartz v. Switzerland'' challenged the lack of an option for husbands to add the wife's surname to his surname, which they had chosen as the family name when this option was available for women. ''Losonci Rose and Rose v. Switzerland'' challenged a prohibition on foreign men married to Swiss women keeping their surname if this option was provided in their national law, an option available to women. ''Ünal Tekeli v. Turkey'' challenged prohibitions on women using their surname as the family name, an option only available to men. The Court found all these laws to be in violation of the convention. In the Czech Republic, only recently women have been allowed by a law to use family names without the ending -ová behind the name of their father or husband (so-called ''přechýlení''). This was seen as discriminatory by a part of the public.
Patronymic surnamesThese are the oldest and most common type of surname. They may be a first name such as "Wilhelm", a such as " ", a such as " Beaton", or a clan name such as " O'Brien". Multiple surnames may be derived from a single given name: e.g. there are thought to be over 90 Italian surnames based on the given name " ". Hanks, Patrick and Hodges, Flavia. ''A Dictionary of Surnames''. Oxford University Press, 1989. . Patronymic surnames can be a parent's name without modification (Ali Mohamed is Mohamed's son), preceded by a modifying word/character (bin Abdulaziz, Mac Donald), or modified by affixes (Stefanović, Petrov, Jones, Olsen, López, Price, Dēmētrópoulos, Fitzgerald). There is a wide range of family name affixes with a patronymic function. Patronymic surnames can be actively changing with each generation (Senai Abraham father of Zerezghi Senai father of Afwerki Zerezghi) or derived from historical patronymics but now consistent between generations (as in Sarah Jones whose father is Benjamin Jones, and all her paternal grandfathers surnamed Jones back 200 years). Patronymics can represent a single generation (Ali Mohamed is Mohamed's son) or multiple generations (Lemlem Mengesha Abraha is Lemlem son of Mengesha son of Abraha, his son could be Tamrat Lemlem Mengesha). See for specifics on cultural differences. See family name affixes for a list of specific prefixes and suffixes with their meanings and associated languages.
Examples* Patronal from patronage (''Hickman'' meaning Hick's man, where Hick is a pet form of the name Richard) or strong ties of religion ''Kilpatrick'' (follower of Patrick) or ''Kilbride'' (follower of ). * s, s or ancestral, often from a person's given name. e.g., from male name: '' '', '' '', '' '' (Welsh for Johnson), '' '', '' '', '' '', '' Thompson'', '' '', '' '', '' '', ''Evans (surname), Evans'', ''Simpson (surname), Simpson'', ''Willis (surname), Willis'', ''Fox (surname), Fox'', '' '', ''Reynolds (surname), Reynolds'', ''Adams (surname), Adams'', ''Dawson (surname), Dawson'', ''Lewis (surname), Lewis'', ''Rogers (surname), Rogers'', ''Murphy'', ''Morrow (surname), Morrow'', ''Nicholson (surname), Nicholson'', ''Robinson (name), Robinson'', ''Powell (surname), Powell'', ''Ferguson (name), Ferguson'', ''Davis (surname), Davis'', ''Edwards (surname), Edwards'', ''Hudson (surname), Hudson'', ''Roberts (surname), Roberts'', ''Harrison (name), Harrison'', ''Watson (surname), Watson'', or female names ''Molson'' (from Moll for Mary), ''Madison (name), Madison'' (from Maud), ''Emmott'' (from Emma), ''Marriott'' (from Mary) or from a clan name (for those of Scottish origin, e.g., ''MacDonald'', ''Clan Forbes, Forbes'', ''Henderson (surname), Henderson'', ''Armstrong (surname), Armstrong'', ''Grant (surname), Grant'', ''Cameron (surname), Cameron'', ''Stewart (name), Stewart'', ''Douglas (surname), Douglas'', ''Crawford (name), Crawford'', ''Campbell (surname), Campbell'', ''Hunter (name), Hunter'') with "Mac" Goidelic languages, Gaelic for son.
Occupational surnamesVocation, Occupational names include '' '' (for a metalsmith, smith), ''Miller (name), Miller'' (for a miller), ''Farmer (surname), Farmer'' (for Farm (revenue leasing), tax farmers or sometimes farmers), ''Thatcher (profession), Thatcher'' (for a thatching, thatcher), ''Shepherd (surname), Shepherd'' (for a shepherd), ''Potter (surname), Potter'' (for a pottery, potter), and so on, as well as non-English ones, such as the German ''Eisenhauer'' (iron hewer, later Anglicized in America as ''Eisenhower (name), Eisenhower'') or ''Schneider (surname), Schneider'' (tailor) – or, as in English, ''Schmidt (surname), Schmidt'' (smith). There are also more complicated names based on occupational titles. In England it was common for servants to take a modified version of their employer's occupation or first name as their last name, adding the letter ''s'' to the word, although this formation could also be a . For instance, the surname ''Vickers (surname), Vickers'' is thought to have arisen as an occupational name adopted by the servant of a vicar,Reaney, P.H., and Wilson, R.M. ''A Dictionary of English Surnames.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Rev. 3rd ed. . while ''Roberts (surname), Roberts'' could have been adopted by either the son or the servant of a man named Robert. A subset of occupational names in English are names thought to be derived from the medieval Mystery play#English mystery plays, mystery plays. The participants would often play the same roles for life, passing the part down to their oldest sons. Names derived from this may include ''King (surname), King'', ''Lord (surname), Lord'' and ''Virgin''. The original meaning of names based on medieval occupations may no longer be obvious in modern English (so the surnames ''Cooper'', ''Chandler'', and ''Cutler'' come from the occupations of making barrels, candles, and cutlery, respectively).
Examples''Archer (surname), Archer'', ''Bailey (surname), Bailey'', ''Bailhache (surname), Bailhache'', ''Baker (surname), Baker'', ''Brewer (surname), Brewer'', ''Butcher (surname), Butcher'', ''Carpenter (surname), Carpenter'', ''Carter (name), Carter'', ''Chandler (surname), Chandler'', ''Clark'' or ''Clarke'', ''Collier (surname), Collier'', ''Cooper (surname), Cooper'', ''Cook (surname), Cook'' or ''Cooke (surname), Cooke'', ''Dempster'', ''Dyer (surname), Dyer'', ''Farmer (surname), Farmer'', ''Faulkner (surname), Faulkner'', ''Ferrari (surname), Ferrari'', ''Ferrero (surname), Ferrero'', ''Fisher (surname), Fisher'', ''Fisichella (surname), Fisichella'', ''Fletcher (surname), Fletcher'', ''Fowler (surname), Fowler'', ''Fuller (surname), Fuller'', ''Gardener'', ''Glover (surname), Glover'', ''Hayward (profession), Hayward'', ''Hawkins (name), Hawkins'', ''Head'', ''Hunt (surname), Hunt'' or ''Hunter (surname), Hunter'', ''Judge (surname), Judge'', ''Knight (surname), Knight'', ''Mason (surname), Mason'', ''Miller (name), Miller'', ''Mower'', ''Page (surname), Page'', ''Palmer (surname), Palmer'', ''Parker (surname), Parker'', ''Porter (name), Porter'', ''Potter (name), Potter'', ''Reeve (surname), Reeve'' or ''Reeves (surname), Reeves'', ''Sawyer (occupation), Sawyer'', ''Shoemaker (surname), Shoemaker'', ''Slater'', '' '', ''Stringer (surname), Stringer'', '' '', ''Thatcher (profession), Thacker'' or ''Thatcher (profession), Thatcher'', ''Turner (surname), Turner'', ''Walker (surname), Walker'', ''Weaver (surname), Weaver'', ''Woodman'' and ''Wright'' (or variations such as ''Cartwright (surname), Cartwright'' and ''Wainwright (name), Wainwright'').
Toponymic surnamesLocation (toponymic, habitation) names derive from the inhabited location associated with the person given that name. Such locations can be any type of settlement, such as homesteads, farms, enclosures, villages, hamlets, strongholds, or cottages. One element of a habitation name may describe the type of settlement. Examples of Old English elements are frequently found in the second element of habitational names. The habitative elements in such names can differ in meaning, according to different periods, different locations, or with being used with certain other elements. For example, the Old English element ''tūn'' may have originally meant "enclosure" in one name, but can have meant "farmstead", "village", "manor", or "estate" in other names. Location names, or habitation names, may be as generic as "Monte" (Portuguese for "mountain"), "Górski" (Polish for "hill"), or "Pitt" (variant of "pit"), but may also refer to specific locations. "Washington", for instance, is thought to mean "the homestead of the family of Wassa",Cottle, Basil. ''Penguin Dictionary of Surnames''. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967. No ISBN. while "Lucci" means "resident of Lucca". Although some surnames, such as "London", "Lisboa", or "Białystok" are derived from large cities, more people reflect the names of smaller communities, as in Ó Creachmhaoil, derived from a village in County Galway. This is thought to be due to the tendency in Europe during the Middle Ages for migration to chiefly be from smaller communities to the cities and the need for new arrivals to choose a defining surname.Bowman, William Dodgson. ''The Story of Surnames''. London, George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1932. No ISBN. In Portuguese-speaking countries, it is uncommon, but not unprecedented, to find surnames derived from names of countries, such as Portugal, França, Brasil, Holanda. Surnames derived from country names are also found in English, such as "England", "Wales", "Spain". Many Japanese name, Japanese surnames derive from geographical features; for example, Ishikawa (石川) means "stone river", Yamamoto (山本) means "the base of the mountain", and Inoue (井上) means "above the well". Arabic names sometimes contain surnames that denote the city of origin. For example, in cases of Saddam Hussein al Tikriti, meaning Saddam Hussein originated from Tikrit, a city in Iraq. This component of the name is called a ''Nisbat (onomastics), nisbah''.
Examples* Estate names For those descended from land-owners, the name of their holdings, castle, manor or estate, e.g. Ernle, House of Windsor, Windsor, Staunton (surname), Staunton * Habitation (place) names e.g., Burton (name), Burton, Flint (surname), Flint, Hamilton (surname and title), Hamilton, London (name), London, Laughton (surname), Laughton, Leighton (surname), Leighton, Murray (surname), Murray, Sutton (surname), Sutton, Tremblay (surname), Tremblay * Topographic names (geographical features) e.g., Bridge (surname), Bridge or Bridges (surname), Bridges, Brook (surname), Brook or Brooks (surname), Brooks, Bush (surname), Bush, Camp (surname), Camp, Hill (surname), Hill, Lake (surname), Lake, Lee (English name), Lee or Leigh (surname), Leigh, Wood (surname), Wood, Grove (surname), Grove, Holmes (surname), Holmes, Forest (name), Forest, Underwood (surname), Underwood, Hall (surname), Hall, Field (surname), Field, Stone (surname), Stone, Morley (name), Morley, Moore (surname), Moore, Perry (surname), Perry
Cognominal surnamesThis is the broadest class of surnames, encompassing many types of origin. These include names, also known as eke-names, based on appearance such as "Schwartzkopf", "Short", and possibly "Caesar", and names based on temperament and personality such as "Daft", "Gutman", and "Maiden", which, according to a number of sources, was an English nickname meaning "effeminate".
Examples* Physical attributes e.g., Short, , Black, Whitehead, Young (surname), Young, Long, White (surname), White, Stark, Fair * Temperament and personality e.g. Daft, Gutman, Maiden, Smart, Happy
Acquired and ornamental surnamesOrnamental surnames are made up of names, not specific to any attribute (place, parentage, occupation, caste) of the first person to acquire the name, and stem from the middle class's desire for their own hereditary names like the nobles. They were generally acquired later in history and generally when those without surnames needed them. They were originally claimed by middle-class people of the Norse naming traditions who desired names like the nobles and thus referred to as "ornamental". Most other traditions refer to them as "acquired". They might be given to people newly immigrated, conquered, or converted, as well as those with unknown parentage, formerly enslaved, or from parentage without a surname tradition. Ornamental surnames are more common in communities that adopted (or were forced to adopt) surnames in the 18th and 19th centuries. They occur commonly in Scandinavia, among Sinti and Roma and Jews in Germany and Austria. Examples include "Steinbach" ("derived from a place called Steinbach"), "Rosenberg" ("rose mountain"), and "Winterstein" (derived from a place called Winterstein). Forced adoption in the 19th century is the source of German, Polish and even Italian ornamental surnames for Latvians such as "Rozentāls (Rosental)" ("rose valley"), "Eizenbaums (Eisenbaum") ("steel wood"), "Freibergs (Freiberg)" ("free mountain"). In some cases, such as and Chinese Thais, certain ethnic groups are subject to political pressure to change their surnames, in which case surnames can lose their family-name meaning. For instance, Indonesian business tycoon Liem Swie Liong (林绍良) "indonesianised" his name to Sudono Salim. In this case, "Liem" (林) was rendered by "Salim", a name of Arabic origin, while "Sudono", a Javanese name with the honorific prefix "su-" (of Sanskrit origin), was supposed to be a rendering of "Swie Liong". During the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade many Africans lost their native names and were forced by their owners to take the owners' surnames and any given name the "owner" or slave master desired. In the Americas, the family names of many African-Americans have their origins in slavery (''i.e.'' slave name). Many freed slaves either created family names themselves or adopted the name of their former master. In regions with a strong religious influence, newly acquired names were often given by the religious leaders as part of naming ceremonies. The religion dictated the type of surname but these are traditionally surnames associated with the religion. ic names often follow the Arabic patronymic naming conventions but include names like Mohamed or ibn Abihi, "son of his father". Catholic Church, Catholic names may have been influenced by the Saint on whose Calendar of saints, feast day the person was christened, for instance Toussaint (name), Toussaint and De Los Santos may have been christened on All Saints' Day. As Native Peoples of the Americas were assimilated by the conquering countries, they were often converted to the dominant religion, being christened with associated names (ie. de la Cruz). Others maintained a historical name, title, or byname of an ancestor translated into the new language (ie. RunningWolf). Yet others were simply given "appropriate sounding" invented names (as Markishtum for members of the Makah tribe). Another category of acquired names is Child abandonment, foundlings names. Historically, children born to unwed parents or extremely poor parents would be abandoned in a public place or anonymously placed in a Baby_hatch#History, foundling wheel. Such abandoned children might be claimed and named by religious figures, the community leaders, or adoptive parents. Some such children were given surnames that reflected their condition, like (Italian) Esposito, Innocenti (surname), Innocenti, Casagrande, Della Casagrande, Trovato, Abbandonata, or (Dutch) Vondeling, Verlaeten, Bijstand. Other children were named for the street/place they were found (Union, Holborn (disambiguation), Holborn, Liquorpond (street), di Palermo, Baan, Bijdam, van den Eyngel (shop name), van der Stoep (surname), van der Stoep, von Trapp), the date they were found (Monday (surname), Monday, Septembre, Spring, di Gennaio), or festival/feast day they found or christened (Easter, SanJosé). Some foundlings were given the name of whoever found them.
Gender-specific versions of surnameIn some cultures and languages, especially the Baltic languages (Latvian and Lithuanian), and most of the Slavic languages (such as Bulgarian, Russian, Slovak, Czech, etc.) and some other nations – Greece and Iceland – surnames change form depending on the gender of the bearer. Some Slavic cultures originally distinguished the surnames of married and unmarried women by different suffixes, but this distinction is no longer widely observed. In Slavic languages, substantivized adjective surnames have commonly symmetrical adjective variants for males and females (Podwiński/Podwińska in Polish, Nový/Nová in Czech or Slovak, etc.). In the case of nominative and quasi-nominative surnames, the female variant is derived from the male variant by a possessive suffix (Novák/Nováková, Hromada/Hromadová). In Czech and Slovak, the pure possessive would be Novákova, Hromadova, but the surname evolved to a more adjectivized form Nováková, Hromadová, to suppress the historical possessivity. Some rare types of surnames are universal and gender-neutral: examples in Czech are Janů, Martinů, Fojtů, Kovářů. These are the archaic form of the possessive, related to the plural name of the family. Such rare surnames are also often used for transgender persons during transition because most common surnames are gender-specific. Some Czech dialects (Southwest-Bohemian) use the form "Novákojc" as informal for both genders. In the culture of the Sorbs (a.k.a. Wends or Lusatians), Sorbian languages, Sorbian used different female forms for unmarried daughters (Jordanojc, Nowcyc, Kubašec, Markulic), and for wives (Nowakowa, Budarka, Nowcyna, Markulina). In Polish, typical surnames for unmarried women ended -ówna, -anka, or -ianka, while the surnames of married women used the possessive suffixes -ina or -owa. The informal dialectal female form in Polish and Czech dialects was also -ka (Pawlaczka, Kubeška). With the exception of the -ski/-ska suffix, most feminine forms of surnames are seldom observed in Polish. In Czech, a trend to use male surnames for women is popular among cosmopolitans or celebrities, but is often criticized from patriotic views and can be seen as ridiculous and as degradation and disruption of Czech grammar. Adaptation of surnames of foreign women by the suffix "-ová" is currently a hot linguistic and political question in Czechia; it is massively advocated as well as criticized and opposed. Generally, inflected languages use names and surnames as living words, not as static identifiers. Thus, the pair or the family can be named by a plural form which can differ from the singular male and female form. For instance, when the male form is Novák and the female form Nováková, the family name is Novákovi in Czech and Novákovci in Slovak. When the male form is Hrubý and the female form is Hrubá, the plural family name is Hrubí (or "rodina Hrubých"). In Greece, if a man called Papadopoulos has a daughter, she will likely be named Papadopoulou (if the couple has decided their offspring will take his surname), the genitive form, as if the daughter is "of" a man named Papadopoulos. In Lithuania, if the husband is named Vilkas, his wife will be named Vilkienė and his unmarried daughter will be named Vilkaitė. Male surnames have suffixes -as, -is, -ius, or -us, unmarried girl surnames aitė, -ytė, -iūtė or -utė, wife surnames -ienė. These suffixes are also used for foreign names, exclusively for grammar; the surname of the present Archbishop of Canterbury, for example, becomes ''Velbis'' in Lithuanian, while his wife is ''Velbienė'', and his unmarried daughter, ''Velbaitė''. Latvian, like Lithuanian, use strictly feminized surnames for women, even in the case of foreign names. The function of the suffix is purely grammar. Male surnames ending -e or -a need not be modified for women. An exception is 1) the female surnames which correspond to nouns in the sixth declension with the ending "-s" – "Iron", ("iron"), "rock", 2) as well as surnames of both genders, which are written in the same nominative case because corresponds to nouns in the third declension ending in "-us" "Grigus", "Markus"; 3) surnames based on an adjective have indefinite suffixes typical of adjectives "-s, -a" ("Stalts", "Stalta") or the specified endings "-ais, -ā" ("Čaklais", "Čaklā") ("diligent"). In Iceland, surnames have a gender-specific suffix (-dóttir = daughter, -son = son). Finnish used gender-specific suffixes up to 1929 when the Marriage Act forced women to use the husband's form of the surname. In 1985, this clause was removed from the act.
OtherThe meanings of some names are unknown or unclear. The most common European name in this category may be the English (Irish derivative) name Ryan (surname), Ryan, which means 'little king' in Irish. Also, Celtic origin of the name Arthur, meaning 'Artur, bear'. Other surnames may have arisen from more than one source: the name DeLuca, De Luca, for instance, likely arose either in or near Lucania or in the family of someone named Lucas or Lucius; in some instances, however, the name may have arisen from Lucca, with the spelling and pronunciation changing over time and with emigration. The same name may appear in different cultures by coincidence or romanization; the surname Lee (English name), Lee is used in English culture, but is also a romanization of the Chinese surname ''Li (surname 李), Li''. Surname origins have been the subject of much folk etymology. In French Canada until the 19th century, several families adopted surnames that followed the family name in order to distinguish the various branches of a large family. Such a surname was preceded by the word ''dit'' ("so-called," lit. "said") and was known as a ''nom-dit'' ("said-name"). (Compare with some .) While this tradition is no longer in use, in many cases the ''nom-dit'' has come to replace the original family name. Thus the Bourbeau family has split into Bourbeau dit Verville, Bourbeau dit Lacourse, and Bourbeau dit Beauchesne. In many cases, Verville, Lacourse, or Beauchesne has become the new family name. Likewise, the Rivard family has split into the Rivard dit Lavigne, Rivard dit Loranger and Rivard dit Lanoie. The origin of the ''nom-dit'' can vary. Often it denoted a geographical trait of the area where that branch of the family lived: Verville lived towards the city, Beauchesne lived near an oak tree, Larivière near a river, etc. Some of the oldest ''noms-dits'' are derived from the war name of a settler who served in the army or militia: Tranchemontagne ("mountain slasher"), Jolicœur ("braveheart"). Others denote a personal trait: Lacourse might have been a fast runner, Legrand was probably tall, etc. Similar in German it is with ''genannt'' – "Vietinghoff genannt Scheel".
Order of namesIn many cultures (particularly in Culture of Europe, European and European-influenced cultures in the Americas, Oceania, etc., as well as West Asia/North Africa, South Asia, and most Sub-Saharan African cultures), the surname or family name ("last name") is placed after the personal, Given name, forename (in Europe) or given name ("first name"). In other cultures the surname is placed first, followed by the given name or names. The latter is often called the Name order, Eastern naming order because Europeans are most familiar with the examples from the East Asian cultural sphere, specifically, Chinese name, Greater China, Korean name, Korea (the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), Japanese name, Japan, and Vietnamese name, Vietnam. This is also the case in Cambodia. The Telugu language, Telugu people of south India also place surname before personal name. There are some parts of Europe, in particular Hungary, Bavaria in Germany, and the Samis in Europe, that in some instances also follow the Eastern order. Since family names are normally written last in European societies, the terms last name or surname are commonly used for the family name, while in Japan (with vertical writing) the family name may be referred to as "upper name" (). When people from areas using Eastern naming order write their personal name in the Latin alphabet, it is common to reverse the order of the given and family names for the convenience of Westerners, so that they know which name is the family name for official/formal purposes. Reversing the order of names for the same reason is also Norm (social), customary for the Baltic Finns, Baltic Finnic peoples and the Hungarian people, Hungarians, but other Uralic languages, Uralic peoples traditionally did not have surnames, perhaps because of the clan structure of their societies. The Samis, depending on the circumstances of their names, either saw no change or did see a transformation of their name. For example: Sire in some cases became Siri, and Hætta Jáhkoš Ásslat became Aslak Hætta, Aslak Jacobsen Hætta – as was the Convention (norm), norm. Recently, integration into the EU and increased communications with foreigners prompted many Samis to reverse the order of their full name to given name followed by surname, to avoid their given name being mistaken for and used as a surname. Indian surnames may often denote village, profession, and/or caste and are invariably mentioned along with the personal/first names. However, hereditary last names are not universal. In Telugu language, Telugu-speaking families in south India, surname is placed before personal / first name and in most cases it is only shown as an initial (for example 'S.' for Suryapeth). In English and other languages like Spanish—although the usual order of names is "first middle last"—for the purpose of cataloging in libraries and in citing the names of authors in scholarly papers, the order is changed to "last, first middle," with the last and first names separated by a comma, and items are alphabetized by the last name. In France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Latin America, administrative usage is to put the surname before the first on official documents.
Compound surnamesWhile in many countries surnames are usually one word, in others a surname may contain two words or more, as described below.
English compound surnamesCompound surnames in English and several other European cultures feature two (or occasionally more) words, often joined by a or hyphens. However, it is not unusual for compound surnames to be composed of separate words not linked by a hyphen, for example Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party (UK), British Conservative Party, whose surname is "Duncan Smith".
Surname affixesMany surnames include prefixes that may or may not be separated by a space or punctuation from the main part of the surname. These are usually not considered true compound names, rather single surnames are made up of more than one word. These prefixes often give hints about the type or origin of the surname (patronymic, toponymic, notable lineage) and include words that mean from [a place or lineage], and son of/daughter of/child of. The common Celtic prefixes "Ó" or "Ua" (descendant of) and "Mac" or "Mag" (son of) can be spelled with the prefix as a separate word, yielding "Ó Briain" or "Mac Millan" as well as the anglicized "O'Brien" and "MacMillan" or "Macmillan". Other Irish prefixes include Ní, Nic (daughter of the son of), Mhic, and Uí (wife of the son of). A surname with the prefix "Fitz" can be spelled with the prefix as a separate word, as in "Fitz William", as well as "FitzWilliam" or "Fitzwilliam" (like, for example, Robert FitzRoy). Note that "Fitz" comes from French (fils) thus making these surnames a form of patronymic. See other articles: Irish_name#Patronyms_and_other_additives, Irish surname additives, Spanish_naming_customs#Nominal_conjunctions, Spanish nominal conjunctions, Von, van (Dutch), Van, List of family name affixes, surname, and Toponymic surname
Chinese compound surnamesSome s use more than one Chinese character, character.
Spanish compound surnamesIn traditional Spanish culture, and as is still the case in many Spanish-speaking countries, an individual may have one or two surnames, which can be independent or part of a compound surname that will be passed on to the person's descendants. Instead, an individual inherits the surnames of all of their ancestors, in particular their father and mother. In practice, individuals mostly use only the two surnames of their parents. For instance, Spanish ex-premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has José Luis as his given name, Rodríguez (surname), Rodríguez as his first (i.e. paternal) surname, and Zapatero (surname), Zapatero as his second (i.e. maternal) surname. Generally, this custom does not create a true compound surname. "Rodríguez Zapatero", for example, is not considered one surname; it is two distinct surnames, therefore his children have not inherited the "compound" surname "Rodríguez Zapatero". Only the paternal surname of both father and mother were passed on, although it is not always the case. Uruguayan politician Guido Manini Rios has inherited a compound surname constructed from the patrilineal and matrilineal surnames of a recent ancestor. An additional complication is introduced by marriage. Rodríguez Zapatero's wife was born Sonsoles Espinosa Díaz. Under Spanish tradition she is still known by that name, even after marriage. But she may also be known as :Sonsoles Espinosa Díaz de Rodríguez :Sonsoles Espinosa de Rodríguez :Sonsoles de Rodríguez Feminist activists have criticized this custom as they consider it sexist. Another consequence of feminist activism is the reform of naming codes to allow the mother's surname to be placed before the father's in a child's compound surname.
True compound surnamesBeyond this seemingly "compound" surname system in the Hispanic world, there are also true compound surnames in the Spanish-speaking countries. These true compound surnames are passed on and inherited as compounds. For instance, former Chairman of the Military junta, Supreme Military Junta of Ecuador, General Luis Telmo Paz y Miño Estrella, has Luis as his first given name, Telmo as his middle name, the true compound surname Paz y Miño as his first (i.e. paternal) surname, and Estrella as his second (i.e. maternal) surname. Luis Telmo Paz y Miño Estrella is also known more casually as Luis Paz y Miño, Telmo Paz y Miño, or Luis Telmo Paz y Miño. He would never be regarded as Luis Estrella, Telmo Estrella, or Luis Telmo Estrella, nor as Luis Paz, Telmo Paz, or Luis Telmo Paz. This is because "Paz" alone is not his surname (although other people use the "Paz" surname on its own). In this case, Pazmiño, Paz y Miño is in fact the paternal surname, being a true compound surname. His children, therefore, would inherit the compound surname "Paz y Miño" as their paternal surname, while Estrella would be lost, since the mother's paternal surname becomes the children's second surname (as their own maternal surname). "Paz" alone would not be passed on, nor would "Miño" alone. To avoid ambiguity, one might often informally see these true compound surnames hyphenated, for instance, as Paz-y-Miño. This is true especially in the English-speaking world, but also sometimes even in the Hispanic world, since too many Hispanics unfamiliar with this and other compound surnames, "Paz y Miño" might be inadvertently mistaken as "Paz" for the paternal surname and "Miño" for the maternal surname. Although Miño did start off as the maternal surname in this compound surname, it was many generations ago, around five centuries, that it became compounded, and henceforth inherited and passed on as a compound. Other surnames which started off as compounds of two or more surnames, but which merged into one single word, also exist. An example would be the surname Pazmiño, whose members are related to the Paz y Miño, as both descend from the "Paz Miño" family of five centuries ago. Álava, Spain is known for its incidence of true compound surnames, characterized for having the first portion of the surname as a patronymic, normally a Spanish patronymic (i.e. from Castilian language, Castilian) or more unusually a Basque language, Basque patronymic, followed by the preposition "de", with the second part of the surname being a local toponymic surname from Álava.
Spanish-speaking worldIn Spain and in most Hispanophone, Spanish-speaking countries, the custom is for people to have one or two surnames. Usually, the first surname comes from the father and the second from the mother, but it could be the other way around or a compound surname inherited fully from the father. When speaking or in informal situations, only the first one is used, although both are needed for legal purposes. A child's first surname will usually be their father's first surname, while the child's second surname will usually be their mother's first surname. For example, if José García Torres and María Acosta Gómez had a child named Pablo, then his full name would be Pablo García Acosta. One family member's relationship to another can often be identified by the various combinations and permutations of surnames. In some instances, when an individual's first surname is too common (such as in José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the second surname gains preeminence over the first one. Rodriguez Zapatero, therefore is more often called just "Zapatero" and almost never "Rodriguez" only. In other cases, such as in writer Mario Vargas Llosa), a person would use both surnames instead of just the second one, giving way to the formation of a compound surname that his children might or might not inherit. In Spain, feminist activism pushed for a law approved in 1999 that allows an adult to change the order of his/her family names, and parents can also change the order of their children's family names if they (and the child, if over 12) agree. In Spain, especially Catalonia, the paternal and maternal surnames are often combined using the conjunction ''y'' ("and" in Spanish) or ''i'' ("and" in Catalan language, Catalan), see for example the economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin or painter Salvador Dalí i Domènech. In Spain, a woman does not generally change her legal surname when she marries. In some Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, a woman may, on her marriage, drop her mother's surname and add her husband's surname to her father's surname using the preposition ''de'' ("of"), ''del'' ("of the", when the following word is masculine) or ''de la'' ("of the", when the following word is feminine). For example, if "Clara Reyes Alba" were to marry "Alberto Gómez Rodríguez", the wife could use "Clara Reyes ''de'' Gómez" as her name (or "Clara Reyes Gómez", or, rarely, "Clara Gómez Reyes". She can be addressed as ''Mrs., Sra. de Gómez'' corresponding to "Mrs Gómez"). In some countries, this form may be mainly social and not an official name change, i.e. her name would still legally be her birth name. This custom of adding the husband's surname is slowly fading. Sometimes a father transmits his combined family names, thus creating a new one e.g., the paternal surname of the son of ''Javier'' (given name) ''Reyes'' (paternal family name) ''de la Barrera'' (maternal surname) may become the new paternal surname ''Reyes de la Barrera''. ''De'' is also the nobiliary particle used with Spanish surnames. This can not be chosen by the person, as it is part of the surname, for example, "Puente" and "Del Puente" are not the same surname. Children take the surnames of both parents, so if the couple above had two children named "Andrés" and "Ana", then their names would be "Andrés Gómez Reyes" and "Ana Gómez Reyes". In Spain, a 1995 reform in the law allows the parents to choose whether the father's or the mother's surname goes first, although this order must be the same for all their children. For instance, the name of the son of the couple in the example above could be either "Andrés Gómez Reyes" or "Andrés Reyes Gómez". Sometimes, for single mothers or when the father would or could not recognize the child, the mother's surname has been used twice: for example, "Ana Reyes Reyes". In Spain, however, children with just one parent receive both surnames of that parent, although the order may also be changed. In 1973 in Chile, the law was changed to avoid stigmatizing illegitimate children with the maternal surname repeated. Some Hispanic people, after leaving their country, drop their maternal surname, even if not formally, so as to better fit into the non-Hispanic society they live or work in. Dropping the paternal surname is not unusual when it is a very common one. For instance, painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero are known by their maternal surnames as "Picasso" and "Zapatero". Similarly, Anglophones with just one surname may be asked to provide a second surname on official documents in Spanish-speaking countries. When none (such as the mother's maiden name) is provided, the last name may simply be repeated. Traditionally in most countries, and currently in some Spanish-speaking countries, women, upon marrying, keep their own family names. It is considered impolite towards her family for a woman to change her name. The higher-class women of Cuba and Spain traditionally never change their names. In certain rare situations, a woman may be addressed with her paternal surname followed by her husband's paternal surname linked with ''de''. For example, a woman named ''Ana García Díaz'', upon marrying ''Juan Guerrero Macías'', could be called ''Ana García de Guerrero''. This custom, begun in medieval times, is decaying and only has legal validity in Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, Panama, and to a certain extent in Mexico (where it is optional but becoming obsolete), but is frowned upon by people in Spain, Cuba, and elsewhere. In Peru and the Dominican Republic, women normally conserve all family names after getting married. For example, if ''Rosa María Pérez Martínez'' marries ''Juan Martín De la Cruz Gómez'', she will be called ''Rosa María Pérez Martínez de De la Cruz'', and if the husband dies, she will be called ''Rosa María Pérez Martínez Vda. de De la Cruz'' (Vda. being the abbreviation for ''viuda'', "widow" in Spanish). The law in Peru changed some years ago, and all married women can keep their maiden last name if they wish with no alteration. In some churches, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where the family structure is emphasized, as well as a legal marriage, the wife is referred to as "''hermana''" [sister] plus the surname of her husband. And most records of the church follow that structure as well. A new trend in the United States for Hispanics is to hyphenate their father's and mother's last names. This is done because American-born English-speakers are not aware of the Hispanic custom of using two last names and thus mistake the first last name of the individual for a middle name. In doing so they would, for example, mistakenly refer to Esteban Álvarez Cobos as Esteban A. Cobos. Such confusion can be particularly troublesome in official matters. To avoid such mistakes, Esteban Álvarez Cobos, would become Esteban Álvarez-Cobos, to clarify that both are last names. In Spanish villages in Catalonia, Galicia (Spain), Galicia, and Asturias and in Cuba, people are often known by the name of their dwelling or collective family nickname rather than by their surnames. For example, Remei Pujol i Serra who lives at Ca l'Elvira would be referred to as "Remei de Ca l'Elvira"; and Adela Barreira López who is part of the "Provisores" family would be known as "Adela dos Provisores". In the case of Cantabria the family's nickname is used instead of the surname: if one family is known as "Ñecos" because of an ancestor who was known as "Ñecu", they would be "José el de Ñecu" or "Ana la de Ñecu" (collective: the Ñeco's). Some common nicknames are "Rubiu" (blonde or ginger hair), "Roju" (reddish, as referred to ginger hair), "Chiqui" (small), "Jinchu" (big), and a bunch of names about certain characteristics, family relationship or geographical origin (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ).
Portuguese-speaking countriesIn the case of Portuguese naming customs, the main surname (the one used in alpha sorting, indexing, abbreviations, and greetings), appears last. Each person usually has two family names: though the law specifies no order, the first one is usually the maternal family name, whereas the last one is commonly the paternal family name. In Portugal, a person's full name has a minimum legal length of two names (one given name and one family name from either parent) and a maximum of six names (two first names and four surnames – he or she may have up to four surnames in any order desired picked up from the total of his/her parents and grandparents' surnames). The use of any surname outside this lot, or of more than six names, is legally possible, but it requires dealing with bureaucracy. Parents or the person him/herself must explain the claims they have to bear that surname (a family nickname, a rare surname lost in past generations, or any other reason one may find suitable). In Brazil, there is no limit of surnames used. In general, the traditions followed in countries like Brazil, Portugal and Angola are somewhat different from the ones in Spain. In the Spanish tradition, usually, the father's surname comes first, followed by the mother's surname, whereas in Portuguese-speaking countries the father's name is the last, mother's coming first. A woman may adopt her husband's , but nevertheless, she usually keeps her birth name or at least the last one. Since 1977 in Portugal and 2012 in Brazil, a husband can also adopt his wife's surname. When this happens, usually both spouses change their name after marriage. The custom of a woman changing her name upon marriage is recent. It spread in the late 19th century in the upper classes, under French influence, and in the 20th century, particularly during the 1930s and 1940, it became socially almost obligatory. Nowadays, fewer women adopt, even officially, their husbands' names, and among those who do so officially, it is quite common not to use it either in their professional or informal life. The children usually bear only the last surnames of the parents (i.e., the paternal surname of each of their parents). For example, ''Carlos da Silva Gonçalves'' and ''Ana Luísa de Albuquerque Pereira (Gonçalves)'' (in case she adopted her husband's name after marriage) would have a child named ''Lucas Pereira Gonçalves''. However, the child may have any other combination of the parents' surnames, according to euphony, social significance, or other reasons. For example, is not uncommon for the firstborn male to be given the father's full name followed by "Júnior" or "Filho" (son), and the next generation's firstborn male to be given the grandfather's name followed by "Neto" (grandson). Hence ''Carlos da Silva Gonçalves'' might choose to name his first born son ''Carlos da Silva Gonçalves Júnior'', who in turn might name his first born son ''Carlos da Silva Gonçalves Neto'', in which case none of the mother's family names are passed on. In ancient times a patronymic was commonly used – surnames like ''Gonçalves'' ("son of ''Gonçalo''"), ''Fernandes'' ("son of ''Fernando''"), ''Nunes'' ("son of ''Nuno''"), ''Soares'' ("son of ''Soeiro''"), ''Sanches'' ("son of ''Sancho''"), ''Henriques'' ("son of ''Henrique''"), ''Rodrigues'' ("son of ''Rodrigo''") which along with many others are still in regular use as very prevalent family names. In Medieval times, Portuguese nobility started to use one of their estates' names or the name of the town or village they ruled as their surname, just after their patronymic. Soeiro Mendes da Maia bore a name "Soeiro", a patronymic "Mendes" ("son of Hermenegildo – shortened to Mendo") and the name of the town he ruled "Maia, Porto, Portugal, Maia". He was often referred to in 12th-century documents as "Soeiro Mendes, senhor da Maia", Soeiro Mendes, lord of Maia. Noblewomen also bore patronymics and surnames in the same manner and never bore their husband's surnames. First-born males bore their father's surname, other children bore either both or only one of them at their will. Only during the Early Modern Age, lower-class males started to use at least one surname; married lower-class women usually took up their spouse's surname, since they rarely ever used one beforehand. After the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Portuguese authorities realized the benefits of enforcing the use and registry of surnames. Henceforth, they became mandatory, although the rules for their use were very liberal. Until the end of the 19th century, it was common for women, especially those from a very poor background, not to have a surname and so to be known only by their first names. A woman would then adopt her husband's full surname after marriage. With the advent of republicanism in Brazil and Portugal, along with the institution of civil registries, all children now have surnames. During the mid-20th century, under French influence and among upper classes, women started to take up their husbands' . From the 1960s onwards, this usage spread to the common people, again under French influence, this time, however, due to the forceful legal adoption of their husbands' surname which was imposed onto Portuguese immigrant women in France. From the 1974 Carnation Revolution onwards the adoption of their husbands' receded again, and today both the adoption and non-adoption occur, with non-adoption being chosen in the majority of cases in recent years (60%). Also, it is legally possible for the husband to adopt his wife's , but this practice is rare.
Culture and prevalenceIn the United States, 1,712 surnames cover 50% of the population, and about 1% of the population has the surname Smith,Genealogy
See also* Genealogy * Generation name * Given name * Legal name * List of family name affixes * Lists of most common surnames * * Matriname * Name blending * Name change * Names ending with -ington * Naming law * Nobiliary particle * One-name study * * Personal name * Skin name * Galton–Watson process, Surname extinction * Surname law * Surname map * Surnames by country * T–V distinction * Tussenvoegsel
Further reading* Blark. Gregory, et al. ''The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility'' (Princeton University Press; 2014) 384 pages; uses statistical data on family names over generations to estimate social mobility in diverse societies and historical periods. * Bowman, William Dodgson. ''The Story of Surnames'' (London, George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1932) * Cottle, Basil. ''Penguin Dictionary of Surnames'' (1967) * Hanks, Patrick and Hodges, Flavia. ''A Dictionary of Surnames'' (Oxford University Press, 1989) * Hanks, Patrick, Richard Coates and Peter McClure, eds. ''The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland'' (Oxford University Press, 2016), which has a lengthy introduction with much comparative material. * Reaney, P.H., and Wilson, R.M. ''A Dictionary of English Surnames'' (3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 1997)