San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) August 30, 2013
In most cases, these so-called “occupation” names started out as surnames before transferring into personal given names in more modern times. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, surnames were mostly given to members of the aristocracy but by the 15th century all British citizens had them (as a form of identification for the purposes of taxation). While the Irish and Scottish-Gaels already had “clan” names, the general English population derived their surnames primarily from one of four places: 1) patronymic (i.e., passed from the father’s name like Harrison, Jackson, Benson, etc); 2) location-based surnames (derived from the location where one was born such as Beckham or Harley; 3) nicknames describing one's personality or physical features (Corbin, Marley, Todd); and, last but not least, 4) occupations.
Occupations were an obvious way to identify and differentiate all of the Johns, Williams and Roberts living in the same town. John the town’s baker became John Baker. William the carpenter was called William Carpenter. And Robert the stone-worker became known as Robert Mason. Not only that, but certain occupations were highly regarded in medieval England. For example, a Miller was the town’s mill-keeper, to whom farmers would bring their grain to ground – so Mr. Miller was a super important person to know! Or if you needed to build a house, you better call on Mr. Sawyer (the dude who saws the wood for you).
Read more about occupational baby names here: http://www.ohbabynames.com/baby-news/occupational-baby-names/45 .
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