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 Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No.7 –April 2007.

Family Tree Maker UK Edition 2006

Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to our newsletter from http://familyhistory4all.co.uk If you prefer to read this 'online' then click here: http://familyhistory4all.co.uk/aplnews.htm


1.          1. Our welcome message.

2.         2. Featured Article – Last Name Meanings - Surnames

3.          3. Latest news from Ancestry

4.          4. What’s new on our site?

5.            5. Next month’s article.

1. I hope this message finds you all in good health. To our new subscribers a big welcome and we hope you enjoy our newsletter. And to all our subscribers – if you have an article or amusing story to share with us then please don’t be afraid to send it for publication…you can remain anonymous if you prefer but we want you all to feel you can contribute if you want to. Just send an email with the words ‘Newsletter item’ in the subject box. And we will include it at the first opportunity, subject to editing, if necessary of course.

If you really do enjoy our newsletters then please tell all your friends and/or relatives who may be interested in family history. Forward this newsletter by all means with our blessing or ask them to sign up for their own copy! But if for any reason you don’t like some part of the newsletter, please tell us! That way we can improve the newsletter and improve your enjoyment!

Here's the link to the archives so you can refer to previous issues: http://familyhistory4all.co.uk/archive.htm (If any links in your newsletter fail to work, then please email me  and I will send you the link again)

2. Last Name Meanings - Surnames

Except for Romans during a period of the Roman Empire, hereditary surnames - the last names passed down through the males of a family, didn't exist until about 1000 years ago. While it may be hard to believe in today's hustle and bustle, surnames just weren't necessary before that. In a world that was much less crowded than it is today -- a world where most people never ventured more than a few miles from their place of birth and every one knew his neighbours -- first, or given names, were the only designations necessary. Even kings got by with a single name.

During the middle ages, as families got bigger and villages got a bit more crowded, individual names became inadequate to distinguish friends and neighbours from one another. One John might be called "John son of William" to distinguish him from his neighbour "John the smith" and his friend "John of the dale." These secondary names weren't quite yet the surnames as we know them today, however, because they weren't passed down from father to son. "John son of William," for example, might have a son known as "Robert the fletcher (arrow maker)."

True surnames, hereditary names used to distinguish one person from another, first came into use in Europe about 1000 A.D., beginning in southern areas and gradually spreading northward. In many countries the use of hereditary surnames began with the nobility who often called themselves after their ancestral seats. Many of the gentry, however, did not adopt surnames until the 14th century, and it was not until about 1500 A.D. that most surnames became inherited and no longer transformed with a change in a person's appearance, job, or place of residence.
Surnames, for the most part, drew their meanings from the lives of men in the Middle Ages, and can be divided into four main categories:

1. Patronymic Surnames.
Patronymics, names derived from a father's name, were widely used in forming surnames, especially in the Scandinavian countries. Rarely, the name of the mother contributed the surname, which is referred to as a matronymic surname. Such names were formed by adding a prefix or suffix denoting either "son of" or "daughter of." English and Scandinavian names ending in "son" are patronymic surnames, as are many names prefixed with the Gaelic "Mac," the Norman "Fitz," the Irish "O," and the Welsh "ap."
Examples: The son of John (JOHNSON), son of Donald (MACDONALD), son of Gerald (FITZGERALD), son of Brien (O'BRIEN), son of Howell (ap HOWELL).

2. Place Names.
One of the most common ways to distinguish one man from his neighbour was to use a geographical designation, creating a class of local surnames derived from the place of residence of the bearer. Such names denoted some of the earliest instances of surnames in France, and were quickly introduced into England by the Norman nobility who chose names based on the locations of their ancestral estates. If a person or family migrated from one place to another, they were often identified by the place they came from. If they lived near a river, rock, hill, or other geographic feature, this would be used. Some surnames can still be traced back to their exact place of origin, such as a particular city or county, while others have origins lost in obscurity (ATWOOD lived near a wood, but we don't know which one). Compass directions were yet another common geographic identification in the Middle Ages (EASTMAN, WESTWOOD). Most geographic-based surnames are easy to spot, though the evolution of language has made others less obvious, i.e. DUNLOP (muddy hill).

Examples: NORMAN was from Normandy; BROOKS lived along a brook; CHURCHILL lived near a church on a hill; NEVILLE came from Neville-Seine-Maritime, France or Neuville (New Town), a common place name in France; PARRIS came from -- you guessed it -- Paris, France;

The meaning of the name ‘HALLAM’ comes from this:
HALLAM - English
Pronounced: HAL-am
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning either "at the rocks" or "at the nook"
or "dweller at the rocks" in Old English.

3. Descriptive Names (Nicknames)
Another class of surnames, those derived from a physical or other characteristic of first bearer, make up an estimated 10% of all family names. These descriptive names are thought to have originally evolved as nicknames during the Middle Ages when a man, familiar with everyone in his small village, might jokingly create nicknames for his neighbours and friends based on personality or physical appearance. Thus, Michael the strong became Michael STRONG and black-haired Peter became Peter BLACK. Sources for such nicknames included: an unusual size or shape of the body, bald heads, facial hair, physical deformities, distinctive facial features, skin or hair colouring, and even emotional disposition.

Examples: STOUT, a large person; BROADHEAD, a person with a large head; BAINES (bones), a thin man; MOODY, a moody individual; ARMSTRONG, strong in the arm

4. Occupational Names.
The last class of surnames to develop reflect the occupation or status of the first bearer. These occupational names, derived from the specialty crafts and trades of the medieval period, are fairly self-explanatory. A MILLER was essential for grinding flour from grain, a WAINWRIGHT was a wagon builder, and BISHOP was in the employ of a Bishop. Different surnames often developed from the same occupation based on the language of the country of origin. When researching occupational surnames, the most important point is to remember that most evolved during the Middle Ages, based on the occupations and trades of the time, so some are not what they may seem. A FARMER, for example, was not an agricultural worker, but instead collected taxes.

Examples: ALDERMAN, an official clerk of the court; TAYLOR, one that makes, alters, and repairs garments; CARTER, a maker/driver of carts; OUTLAW, an outlaw or criminal. Others, such as Butcher, Baker, Miller, Carpenter or Smith are obvious examples.

Despite these basic surname classifications, many surnames of today seem to defy explanation. The majority of these are probably corruptions of the original surnames -- variations that have become disguised almost beyond recognition. Surname spelling and pronunciation has evolved over many centuries, often making it hard for current generations to determine the origin and evolution of their surnames.

Such derivations of family names, resulting from ignorance of spelling, variations in pronunciation, or merely from the preference of the bearer, tend to confound both genealogists and etymologists. On my own research, my family name of HALLAM has been spelt many different ways in parish records and in the early census, where the person visiting the house to take the census, wrote the name as he heard it – such as HALLOM, HALLUM, HALUM.

It is fairly common for different branches of the same family to carry different surnames as the majority of English and American surnames have, in their history, appeared in four to more than a dozen variant spellings. Therefore, when researching the origin of your surname, it is important to work your way back through the generations in order to determine the original family name, as the surname that you carry now may have an entirely different meaning than the surname of your distant ancestor. It is also important to remember that some surnames, though their origins may appear obvious, aren't what they seem. BANKER, for example, is not an occupational surname, instead meaning "dweller on a hillside."

Much more information on the subject of surnames can be found here: 


3. Latest News from Ancestry.co.uk

Scots Census Completion Release 1841 - 1901

Ancestry.co.uk today completed the launch of its Scotland Censuses collection. Now available are 24 million plus indexed names across the complete Scottish census collection fully searchable, transcribed indexes, including address and occupational search capability for possibly the first time ever on this census.

The Ancestry Scotland Censuses collection also includes details about parents, siblings and other relations who lived with them, clues that can lead you to additional family records and a chance to grow your family tree, more history to share with your family and friends.

Now you can search over 24 million Scottish census records spanning 7 decades from 1841 to 1901 inclusive.

Start searching the 1891 Census

1891 Scottish Census Online

Search for your Scottish Ancestors

Searching for Ancestors in Scotland

14 Day FREE trial

Put an image to a name,

Now Ancestry members and visitors can easily search through our vast photo and image collections as well as search for photos and images submitted by other Ancestry members.

Images can be easily saved to family trees, ancestor's personal profiles and more - all greatly enriching our members family tree build experiences.

The Photo search link is also enabled by text url links from the Ancestry logged-in Homepage as well as through the dedicated Search tab 'Photos' (4th tab along the search User Interface) located on Ancestry.co.uk main Homepage and Search Homepages.

Members and site visitors can, similarly, search for member submitted stories and anecdotes using similar link and search locations on the above pages for Stories

Photos and Stories act as great memory joggers for other family members to provide further details regarding previously unknown ancestors as well as triggering community and message board interactions amongst members with shared ancestral interests.

Rasila Patel.

4.  Family History For All – Website update.

NEW! After signing up to our free newsletter, send your address and ask for our free '2008 Laminated Calendar!'

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Note: you must be signed up to the newsletter to receive your free calendar - Time limited offer!

Last month we added a few pages including ‘Ancestry.co.uk News & Offers’ and ‘Family History Events’. These are proving very popular.

Our new guestbook was installed recently by popular request. So please sign our guestbook and add a few comments about the site/newsletter etc. or just say Hi!

I've been working on a new site for the past month or so. If you would like to take a peek then click here: http://ackroydancestry.co.uk/

5.  Next month’s main article:

Family Religion - Tracing Genealogy through Church Records

We hope you've enjoyed this months newsletter.

If you have an idea for a future issue, please tell us and if possible we will include it.

That’s all for this month folks…see you soon.

Jim. Editor

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 Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. UK. DN2 6DE

 PS. For our UK subscribers. If you like to have a flutter on the National Lottery, Use this link: http://playlottery.at/A1Shopping I buy my lotto tickets online as it’s much more convenient. (It is normal to find the site closed on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Just try the next day)



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