AAG INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH, LLC. Professional Genealogists utilizing the World's Largest Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  World-Wide Network of Professional Genealogists specializing in the history and origin of surnames.


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SURNAMES
ORIGIN & HISTORY

European surnames first occurred between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, with some patronymic surnames in Scandinavia being acquired as late as the nineteenth century. Prior to this time period, particularly during the "Dark Ages" between the fifth and eleventh centuries, people were largely illiterate, lived in rural areas or small villages, and had little need of distinction beyond their given names. During Biblical times people were often referred to by their given names and the locality in which they resided such as "Jesus of Nazareth." However, as populations grew, the need to identify individuals by surnames became a necessity. The acquisition of surnames during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, cultural tradition, and naming practices in neighboring cultures.

The majority of surnames are derived from patronymics, i.e. the forming of a surname from the father's given name such as Johnson, meaning literally "the son of John." In some rare cases, the naming practice was metronymic, wherin the surname was derived from the mother's give name such as Catling, Marguerite or Dyott.

Other popular methods of origin for surnames are derived from place names or geographical names such as England, occupational names such as Smith or Carpenter in the British Isles; Schmidt or Zimmerman in Germany, etc. Less popular methods of surname origins include housenames such as Rothchild, surnames derived from nicknames of physical descriptions such as Blake or Hoch, or after one's character such as Stern or Gentile. In some cases an individual was named after a bird or an animal such as Lamb for a gentile or inoffensive person, while Fox was used for a person who was cunning. Surnames were also derived from anectodotal events such as Death and Leggatt, or seasons such as Winter and Spring, and status such as Bachelor, Knight and Squire.

Surname spelling and pronunciation has evolved over centuries, with our current generation often unaware of the origin and evolution of their surnames. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among the illiterate, individuals had little choice but to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks, and priests who officially bestowed upon them new versions of their surnames, just as they had meekly accepted the surnames which they were born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. In the United States such processes of official and accidental change caused Bauch to become Baugh, Micsza to become McShea, Siminowicz to become Simmons, etc. Many immigrants deliberately Anglicized or changed their surnames upon arrival in the New World, so that Mlynar became Miller, Zimmerman became Carpenter, and Schwarz became Black.

Hence, regardless of the current spelling of your surname, the spelling and pronunciation of your surname has evolved over the centuries. In many cases, the current generation may be aware of the change. However, in many cases the change of the surname occurred so long ago that they are not aware of the original spelling and pronunciation of their surname. To the trained genealogist, the change or evolution of most surnames is obvious and very interesting, particularly to the bearer of that surname.

Our Professional Genealogists & Family Historians utilize the World's Largest Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to surname origins, we specialize in Genealogy & Family History Research, including Development & Publication of your family's history and genealogy. Other services we provide include Heraldry Research, Computer Genealogies, Photo Enhancement & Restoration, Family History Videos, Family Trees Illustrated for Display, DAR & Lineage Societies, Native American & African American Research.

In addition to the records obtained by the Genealogy and Family History Library, we also utilize our World-Wide Network of Professional Genealogists and record searchers for locating unfilmed and unpublished records not available at the genealogy and Family History Library.

We invite you to browse through our web-site and check out the services offered by our research firm. Merely click on the options listed in the left margin of this web-site for additional information on the various subjects. For information on research rates and expenses, click on To Begin Research.




AAG INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH, LLC. Professional Genealogists Accredited by the World's Largest Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  World-Wide Network of Professional Genealogists specializing in the history and origin of surnames.

International Research
A Division of Lineages, Inc.
Professional Genealogists & Family Historians
We utilize the World's Largest Genealogy Library
World-Wide Network of Professional Genealogists
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1584, Draper, Utah, 84020
Street Address: 12660 South Fort Street, Draper, Utah 84020
Phone (801) 571-6122 Fax (801) 572-5626

info@intl-research.com


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