where did they come from?
Does anyone know where surnames came from? I don't want the meaning
just who was the first person to have a surname and why he wanted one
and how did he decide what it was or did someone else give it to him.
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Fairly simple really ...Europe, with an ever increasing population at the end of the first century had a relatively limited pool of names to draw from (because everybody wanted to have an association with Christianity - hence a "christian name"). Christian names were to some extent limited. The Europeans began to separate two men with the name of John or two James by either connecting them to a relative, often the father, or to their occupation or to where they came from. Also, in some cases they may have used a physical or personality trait. Thus, John with the red hair became "John Redd" and John with the black hair became John Black. Their sons, quite plausibly named after their fathers may have become Johnsons ...or some other variation until most families finally standardized their names ... just as a note, spellings continued to vary up close to quite modern times ....
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I just wanted to add that Islam is experiencing a similar run on names as the Christians did a millenium ago ...the use of Mohammed and it's variations is often mocked by Westerners, but we were as guilty in our history ...
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A couple of notes on the "son of" thing.
*The common Gaelic surname Prefixes "Mac" and "Mc" also mean "son of"
*Look back at history. The viking "Eric the Red" (he had a red beard and red hair) who discoved Greenland later had a son, Leif ERICSON, who also went on to be a leader. I think that both of these names are good examples of what was previously mentioned.
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