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Fosdike

Griffiths

Harley

Hockaday

Hope

Lambard

Marshall

Mathieson

Masters

Noverre

Nugent

Nye

Percivall

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Stritzko

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Vardon

Vokes

Wheal

Whisson

White

Zimmerman

All Names

Origins







How old are our Surnames? For instance does the surname miller pre date mills?
It seems unlikely. If surnames derived from either the occupations, place names or
charachteristics of our ancesters. When and why did they stick. The answer must
lay with the church. At some stage in history practically the only people who
could and did write were the clergy. So a man of the clothe would record what
he was hearing which might well depend on dialect. Whatever you surname is you
can be pretty sure that it has been through many variations of spelling and has
now pretty much settled down and been standardised and is now unlikely to change.

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The following examples are two of the names and variations that can be found on this site

LAMBARD, which seems to originate from lamb herd, and can have the following
variations : LAMBERT, LAMBART, LAMBARTH, LAMBIRTH, LAMBURD,
LAMPARD, LAMPART, LAMPERD, LAMPERT, LAMMERT and LIMBERT
.
There are probably many more.

BATTLEY, which I would imagine originated from battle, and can have the
following variations: BATLY, BATLEY, BATELY, BATTELY, BATTELEY,
BATELEY, BATAYLE,BATLAY, BATAYLLE, BETELEE, BATAYLES, BATTAYLL,
BATAILL, BATAILLE, BATYAILLE, BATAILLES,BATTLL, BATTELL, BATTAL,
BATTILL, BATILL, BATTILL, BATAL, BATTULLE, BATTRYE, BATELL,
BATTIL, BATEL,
and DE BUTELLE.

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Here is a list of surnames that seem to come from occupations. Some will be quite
obvious, others may be not quite so.

ARCHER. A person skilled in using a bow and arrow.

BAXTER. A baker.

BARKER. A person who tanned leather using the bark of trees, later the term
was also used for a person employed to attract customers at fairgrounds and other
public events by shouting.

BEADLE. A parish officer whose duty was to keep order, was also the town crier.

BOARDMAN. A tenant of manorial land who paid rent by maintaining the manor's
table, later a truant officer who checked school attendance.

BODGER. A craftsman who made wooden table and chair legs, and the spars.

BOOTHMAN. A corn merchant.

BOTCHER. A tailor or cobbler.

BOWYER. A person who made archers bows.

BRAZIER. A person who made and repaired brass household items.

BREWSTER. A brewer.

BRIGHTSMITH. A person who worked with tin.

CARTER. A wagoner.

CARTWRIGHT. A person who made carts and wagons.

CATCHPOLE. A bailiff or sheriffs officer.

CHAMBERLAIN. An officer appointed to the royal household, responsible for
controlling access to the King, also responsible for administration of the household
and the estates of the king.

CHANDLER. A Candlemaker or candle seller.

CHAPMAN. An itinerant dealer or pedlar of goods, also a stall holder in a market.

CHEESEMAN. A dealer in cheeses.

CLARK. A Clerk.

CLOWER. A person who made nails.

COHEN. A priest.

COLLIER. A coal miner, merchant.

COMBER. A person who worked on a combing machine in the mills.

COOPER. A person who made or mended wooden barrels and casks.

COUCHER. A person employed in the paper making trade.

CROPPER. A skilled worker in the weaving trade who sheared the nap from cloth,
also a farm tenant who is paid with a share of the crop.

CUTLER. A knife sharpener, mender or maker.

DEXTER. A dyer of wool or clothe.

DORCAS. A seamstress.

DRAPER. A fabric dealer.

DROVER. A person who drove live stock to market.

DUBBERE. A person who raises the nap of cloth.

DYER. A person who coloured fabrics prior to weaving.

ELLERMAN. A person who sold oil used for lamps, an oilman.

ESQUIRE. A knights attendant and shield bearer.

FABER. An artisan or skilled workman.

FARRIER. A Shoeing smith, Horse doctor.

FAWKNER. A falcon trainer.

FILLER. A person who filled bobbins in the mills.

FLETCHER. An arrow smith.

FORESTER. A forest ranger, game warden.

FREEMAN. A tenant who was freed from feudal service, also a person who has
served his apprenticeship and can ply his own trade.

FULLER. A person who used fuller's earth to thicken and cleanse cloth,
by treading on it under water.

GOLDSMITH. A maker or mender of gold articles, slang term for a Banker.

GOODMAN. A member of the community who ranked above freeman but below gentleman.

GRANGER. A farmer.

GREENSMITH. A worker in copper or latten.

GRIFFIN. A novice, a newcomer, or a greenhorn.

HAYWARD. A hedge and fence Inspector, a tender of hay producing fields.

HILLIER. A Roof tiler.

HOOPER. A maker and mender of hoops for barrels and casks.

HOSIER. A maker or dealer of socks and stockings.

HOYMAN. A person who transports goods or passengers by water.

JACK. A sailor, lumberjack, a young assistant.

JAGGER. A carter, pedlar of fish.

JOINER. A skilled carpenter.

KNIGHT. A person retained by a feudal lord who will provide military services
for the fiefdom.

LISTER. A dyer of cloth.

LORIMER. A maker of bridles, and other metal parts for horse harnesses.

MARINER. A person who makes his living at sea.

MARSHALL. A Shoeing smith, Horse doctor.

MASON. A stonecutter and dresser.

MERCER. A cloth and silk dealer.

MILLER. A person who converted raw materials into another saleable item.

NAPIER. A person in charge of the table linen.

PALMER. A person who had been to the Holy Land.

PARKER. A park ranger, game warden.

PEEVER. A pepper seller.

PIKEMAN. An untrained soldier who carried a pike, also a millers assistant.

PINDER. A dog catcher.

PIPER. An innkeeper.

PITMAN. A coal miner

PLOWMAN. A farmer.

PLOWWRIGHT. A maker or mender of ploughs.

PORTER. A person that carries baggage or is door or gatekeeper.

POSTER. A rock breaker, quarrieman.

POTTER. A maker or seller of pottery.

PRENTIS or PRENTIce. An apprentice.

SADDLER. A person who made saddles, harnesses and bridles.

SALTER. A person who made or dealt in salt.

SAWYER. A person who worked in a timber mill sawing timber into boards.

SCHUMACKER. A shoemaker.

SCRIVENER. A person who wrote or copied legal documents.

SCUTCHER. A person who beat the flax to soften the straw.

SHEARER. A person who removed the fleece from sheep.

SHRIEVE. A Sheriff.

SKINNER. A dealer in animal hides.

SLATER. A roof tiler who used slate.

SMITH. A person who worked with metal.
SMYTH. A person who worked with metal.
SCHMIDT. A person who worked with metal.

SPICER. A dealer in spices, or a general grocer.

SQUIRE or SQUIRES. A magistrate, lawyer or other professional, a country
gentleman, or a knights attendant.

SWAIN. A herdsman or pig farmer.

TAILOR. A maker and mender clothes.

TANNER. A person who works hides and skins to make leather.

THATCHER. A person who covered roofs with straw or reeds.

TILER. A person who works with roof or floor tiles.

TILLER. A farmer.

TOZER. A person who worked in the wool mills.

TRANTER. A street peddler.

TRAVERS. A toll bridge keeper.

TURNER. A lathe operator.

WAINWRIGHT. A person who made carts and wagons.

WALKER. A person who thickened and cleansed cloth, by treading on it under water.

WATERMAN. A person who worked with or on boats.

WEBSTER. A weaver operating the looms.

WHEELER. A wheel maker, a person in the textile industry that attended a spinning wheel.

WHEELWRIGHT. A maker and mender of cart and wagon wheels.

WRIGHT. A skilled worker, could apply to many trades.

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Surnames also pick up other descriptive suffixes like: HILL, WOOD, WELL, FIELD,
BROOK, MARSH, LAKE, GROVE, FORD
. etc. All helpful little add ons when giving
directions or descriptions in a rural area.

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Patronymics

Patronymics, the name for taking a name from the father DAVIDSON, WILLIAMSON,
JOHNSON, ROBINSON, RICHARDSON, HARRISON.
I am sure that I need not go on
listing them. All common and widespread. Maybe because they are unambiguous.

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Colours

WHITE, BROWN, GREEN. Maybe White came from a variation of Wright, but more likely
that is was a descriptive name for a person with a particularly fare skin. Or maybe because
life expectancy was not as great as today, it may have come from someone being old enough
to have white hair. Brown would be used for someone with particularly darker skin. Green
might simply have derived from someone living on or nearest to the village green.

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Conclusion

I think that it is fair to say that all of our surnames have changed over the centuries.
It does not suit our desire for things to be tidy and straight forward. In fact it
seems quite likely that at one time or another my surname and yours was probably
something like Johnson or Woods until a more dramatic event occurred. So written
records are neither accurate or clear. There is also the possibility that an
indiscretion with the equivalent of a medieval milkman could throw any of our
bloodline off the radar. Maybe in fifty years time a combination of DNA and
supercomputers will just plot it all out for us, for a small fee of course.
Perhaps the biggest question that I should ask myself is why am I so hooked
on searching for my past. Do I have a romantic view of the past and a safe
little haven to disappear into. Or am I satisfying some primitive hunter
gatherer needs.

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