Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
Habitational name from any of several places called Bowden or Bowdon, most of them in England. From Old English boga
"bow" and dun
"hill", or from Old English personal names BUGA
combined with dun
BOWDLER Flemish, English
Originally de Boelare it evolved to Bowdler or Bowdle after Baldwin de Boelare came to England in 1105 & was given a lordship over Montgomery, Wales.
BOWE Medieval English, English, Irish (Anglicized)
There are three possible sources of this surname, the first being that it is a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of bows, a vital trade in medieval times before the invention of gunpowder, and a derivative of the Old English pre 7th Century 'boga', bow, from 'bugan' to bend... [more
A surname of French origin, from the occupational term for 'butcher' (boucher). Some theories have it that it derives from OE 'bocer', meaning a scribe, but the former is more likely and is more widely affirmed.
Nickname from the Norman term of address beu sire ‘fine sir’, given either to a fine gentleman or to someone who made frequent use of this term of address.
English: occupational name for a maker or seller of bows (see Bow
), as opposed to an archer. Compare BOWMAN
Habitational name from any of the places called Bradshaw, for example in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, from Old English brad
"broad" + sceaga
BRAGG English, Welsh
From a nickname for a cheerful or lively person, derived from Middle English bragge
meaning "lively, cheerful, active", also "brave, proud, arrogant".
Northern English habitational name from any of the places in Cumbria and Yorkshire named Braithwaite, from Old Norse breiðr
"broad" + þveit
BRALEY English (American)
A New England variant spelling of Brailey. French: from a diminutive of Brael, from Old French braiel, a belt knotted at the waist to hold up breeches; presumably an occupational name for a maker of such belts... [more
From a place called either Bramall
, or Bramhall
. From old english brom
"broom" and halh
, "nook, recess"
This surname is taken from the word which refers to a common blackberry (British) or any of several closely related thorny plants in the Rubus genus (US). It also refers to any thorny shrub. The word is derived from Old English bræmbel
with a euphonic -b-
inserted from the earlier bræmel
, which is then derived from Proto-Germanic *bræmaz
meaning "thorny bush."
BRANSBY English (British)
English locational name from the village of Bransby in Lincolnshire. The place name is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Branzbi' and later (1115) as 'Brandesby'. These recordings showing that the derivation is from the Old Norse personal name Brandr
meaning "sword" and byr
, the whole meaning being "Brand's village" or "homestead"... [more
Place-name derived from the Old Norse
words for a "broad clearing".
BRAUNERSHRITHER German, Dutch, English
This name mean Leather (Tanned) Knight, or a fighter of leather armor, or in Dutch, Leather writer, one who branded print on leather
From the name of the Northamptonshire village of Braybrooke, meaning "the broad brook."
Derived from the Old Norse name breithr meaning "broad", or the Old Norse personal name Breithi, combined with the Old English suffix tun
meaning "town, farmstead".
From a medieval nickname for someone who had achieved notable success in jousts or in battle. Nicholas Breakspear (?1100-1159) was the original name of Pope Hadrian IV, the only English pope.
Habitational name from any of various minor places, for example Brede in Sussex, named with Old English brǣdu
"breadth, broad place" (a derivative of brād
Probably from a medieval nickname for a likable or popular person (from Middle English breden
"to produce" + love
). This surname is borne by Craig Breedlove (1937-), US land-speed record holder.
The surname is derived from the old English word brasian, meaning to make out of brass. This would indicate that the original bearer of the name was a brass founder by trade. The name is also derived from the old English Broesian which means to cast in brass and is the occupational name for a worker in brass.
BRETON French, English
French and English: ethnic name for a Breton, from Old French bret
(oblique case breton
) (see BRETT
Variant spelling of the habitational name Bruton, from a place in Somerset, so named with a Celtic river name meaning 'brisk' + Old English tun 'farmstead'.
BREYETTE English (American)
Of uncertain origin and meaning. First found in the United States around 1880. Self-taught artist Michael Breyette is a bearer of this surname
Originally derived from place names meaning "briar clearing", from a combination of Old English brær
(meanin "briar") and leah
BRIGGS English, Flemish
This surname is a variant of the more common name BRIDGES
, which, contrary to appearances, has two possible origins, one the perhaps obvious English topographical or occupational one, and the other locational, from Belgium... [more
From a Middle English nickname or personal name, meaning "bright, fair, pretty", from Old English beorht
Habitational name from a place in England so named. From Old English berned
"burnt" and leah
From a place meaning "brun's clearing" or "brown clearing" with the elements
English locational surname, taken from the town of the same name in Norfolk. The name means "settlement belonging to Brun" - the personal name coming from the Old English
word for "fire, flame".
1 English (Yorkshire): topographic name for someone who lived by a broad headland, i.e. a spur of a mountain, from Middle English brode ‘broad’ + heved ‘head’.... [more
BRODERICK Irish, Welsh, English
Surname which comes from two distinct sources. As a Welsh surname it is derived from ap Rhydderch
meaning "son of RHYDDERCH
". As an Irish surname it is an Anglicized form of Ó Bruadair
meaning "descendent of Bruadar"... [more
From the name of a place in West Yorkshire meaning "valley brook", from Old English broc
"brook" and denu
Habitational name from any of the many places so called in England. Most of them derived from Old English brom
"broom" and leah
A surname well represented in Cheshire, and Nottinghamshire.
From a place name meaning "gorse field", from Old English brom
"gorse" and feld
"field, open country".
Habitational name from any of the many places so called in England. The first name element is derived from Old English broc
"fortress", or beorg
"castle". The second element is derived from Old English tun
English habitational name from a place in Lincolnshire named Brumby, from the Old Norse personal name BRÚNI
or from Old Norse brunnr
"well" + býr
First found in Languedoc, France, possibly meaning "brown."
BRUNTON English (Rare)
From Old English burna
meaning "stream" and tun
, settlement; hence, "settlement by a stream".
Habitational name from the former county seat of the county of Buckinghamshire, Old English Buccingahamm
"water meadow (Old English hamm
) of the people of (-inga-
Habitational name from any of the many places in southern England (including nine in Devon) named Buckland, from Old English bōc
"book" and land
"land", i.e. land held by right of a written charter, as opposed to folcland
, land held by right of custom.
Occupational name for a goatherd (Middle English bukkeman
) or scholar (Old English bucman
"book man"). It could also be a shortened form of BUCKINGHAM
or a variant of BUCKNAM
Originated from the Old English personal name Budda, from the word budda
, which means "beetle" or "to swell." Specifically of Celtic Welsh origin.
Nickname from Norman French buge
"mouth" (Late Latin bucca
), applied either to someone with a large or misshapen mouth or to someone who made excessive use of his mouth, i.e. a garrulous, indiscreet, or gluttonous person... [more
BUELTER German, English
Middle European variant of Butler, also meaning "a vat or large trough used to contain wine." The name originated in southern Germany in the mid-seventeenth century.
From the Old Norse nickname Buggi
, literally "fat man", or from a medieval nickname for an eccentric or strangely behaved person (from Middle English bugge
Possibly from the Booklawes region near Melrose, Roxburgshire, originally spelt "Buke-Lawes" (lit. "buck/stag" combined with "low ground"); otherwise from the Gaelic words buidhe
- "yellow" and glas
From a medieval nickname for a "good chap" or amiable companion (from Old French bon enfant
, literally "good child").
Locational surname referring to the medieval village of Bulstrode in Berkshire. ... [more
(i) from a medieval nickname for a vigorous walker (from Old French bon
"good" + pas
"pace"); (ii) perhaps "person who lives by a place through which travel is easy" (from Old French bon
"good" + pas
English: nickname for a hunchback, from Middle English bunche ‘hump’, ‘swelling’ (of unknown origin).
BUNDY English (American)
This surname is most recognizable in North America as belonging to the serial killer named Ted Bundy who committed his crimes in the 1970s.
English: habitational name from places in Wiltshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire, so named with Old English burh ‘fort’ + bæc ‘hill’, ‘ridge’ (dative bece).
English: perhaps a variant of Burbage, altered by folk etymology, or possibly a habitational name from a lost place so named.
An English surname derived from the village of Birkehill (also known as Biekel or Birtle). It means "birch hill".
BURGER English, German, Dutch
Status name for a freeman of a borough. From Middle English burg
, Middle High German burc
and Middle Dutch burch
"fortified town". Also a German habitational name for someone from a place called Burg.
BURGESS English, Scottish
Derived from the Middle English word burge(i)s
or the Old French burgeis
which both meant "inhabitant and (usually) freeman of a fortified town" (compare BURKE
English: from an Old English personal name, BURGHEARD
, composed of the elements burh, burg ‘fort’ (see BURKE
) + heard ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, ‘strong’... [more
English variant of BIRKIN
, a habitational name from the parish of Birkin in West Yorkshire, so named with Old English bircen
‘birch grove’, a derivative of birce
Old English occupational name originally meaning "cup bearer" or "butler" for one who dispensed wine and had charge of the cellar. Eventually the name came to mean the chief servant of a royal or noble household and was replaced by the French language inspired named 'Butler,' akin to the world "bottler".
English habitation name from the elements burh
meaning "stronghold or fortified settlement" and leah
meaning "field or clearing".
Habitational name from Bridlington in East Yorkshire, from Old English Bretlintun
Scottish and English: descriptive nickname from Old French burnete, a diminutive of brun "brown" (see BROWN
BURNEY English, Irish
Form of the French place name of 'Bernay' or adapted from the personal name BJORN
, ultimately meaning "bear".
English (Lancashire and Yorkshire): habitational name from Burnley in Lancashire, so named with the Old English river name Brun (from brun ‘brown’ or burna ‘stream’) + leah ‘woodland clearing’... [more
Topographic name for someone who lived by a hill or tumulus, Old English "beorg", a cognate of Old High German berg "hill", ‘mountain’ (see Berg). This name has become confused with derivatives of Old English burh ‘fort’ (see Burke)... [more
Used to describe someone who lives in a burrow, which makes this surname’s meaning “he whom lives in a burrow.”
Variant of BURROUGHS
. A name for someone who lived by a hill or tumulus, also may be a further derivation from Old English bur
"bower" and hus
Habitational name from a place in North Yorkshire, recorded in Domesday Book as Buschebi
, from Old Norse buskr
"bush, shrub" or an Old Norse personal name Buski
"homestead, village", or from some other place so called.
This is a locational surname and originates from the hamlet of 'Bousfield', eight miles from the town of Appleby in Cumberland. This hamlet was controlled by Norse Vikings for several centuries until the Norman invasion of 1066... [more
BUTTER English, German
1. English: nickname for someone with some fancied resemblance to a bittern, perhaps in the booming quality of the voice, from Middle English, Old French butor ‘bittern’ (a word of obscure etymology)... [more
Topographic name for someone who lived by a pasture for cattle or at a dairy farm, or a habitational name from a place named Butterfield (for example in West Yorkshire), from Old English butere ‘butter’ + feld ‘open country’.
From the insect Butterfly this Surname is borne by Star Butterfly from Star Vs. the forces of evil.
1. A habitational name for someone from Buxton in Derbyshire, from the Middle English Buchestanes or Bucstones (meaning "bowing stones"), from Old English būgan
meaning "to bow" and stanes
, meaning "stones".... [more
Probably means "person from Bytham", Lincolnshire ("homestead in a valley bottom"). Glen Byam Shaw (1904-1986) was a British theatre director.
BYCRAFT English (American, Rare, ?)
Found mostly in the American Great Lakes region and Canada, likely a singular extended family. Likely of 6th century English descent, though there are very few English natives who bear the name. Name either refers to the occupation running some sort of mill machine, the original holder living near a croft (enclosed pasture or tillage) or implies "craftiness" of its original holder.
BYERS Scottish, English
Scottish and northern English topographic name for someone who lived by a cattleshed, Middle English byre
, or a habitational name with the same meaning, from any of several places named with Old English b¯re
, for example Byers Green in County Durham or Byres near Edinburgh.
Either a habitational name from a place named Byfield, or a topographic name for someone who lived near a field.
Probably derived from Old English bȳre
An English place name, earlier Byram, from byre
, meaning "farm" and the suffix -ham
meaning "homestead". Famously borne by the aristocratic poet, Lord Byron.
BYTHESEA English (British)
Habitational name for someone who lived near the sea, this name is nearly extinct in England today.
The surname Bywater came from the Anglo-Saxon origin and means ’dweller by the water‘
CABELL Catalan, English, German
As a Catalan name, a nickname for "bald" from the Spanish word cabello
. The English name, found primarily in Norfolk and Devon, is occupational for a "maker or seller of nautical rope" that comes from a Norman French word... [more
English: metonymic occupational name for a maker of rope, especially the type of stout rope used in maritime applications, from Anglo-Norman French cable
‘cable’ (Late Latin capulum
‘halter’, of Arabic origin, but associated by folk etymology with Latin capere
‘to seize’).... [more
CAESAR Ancient Roman, English
An Ancient Roman political title that indicated a military leader. A famous bearer was Julius Caesar, Roman general, dictator, and politician. In modern times, the surname is used to refer to an individual with a tyrannical attitude, which references the connotative meaning of the word "caesar", meaning "a dictator".
CAINE French, English
Originally from a French derogatory nickname for someone with a bad temper.
From the Middle English cake denoting a flat loaf made from fine flour (Old Norse kaka), hence a metonymic occupational name for a baker who specialized in fancy breads. It was first attested as a surname in the 13th century (Norfolk, Northamptonshire).
Occupational name for a person who finished freshly woven cloth by passing it between heavy rollers to compress the weave. From Old Franch calandrier
English (of Norman origin): habitational name for someone from Caen in Normandy, France.English: habitational name from Cam in Gloucestershire, named for the Cam river, a Celtic river name meaning ‘crooked’, ‘winding’.Scottish and Welsh: possibly a nickname from Gaelic and Welsh cam ‘bent’, ‘crooked’, ‘cross-eyed’.Americanized spelling of German Kamm.
From a medieval nickname for someone with a snub nose (from Old French camus
Respelling of German Kamper
). The surname Camper is recorded in England, in the London and Essex area, in the 19th century; its origin is uncertain, but it may have been taken there from continental Europe.
CANADA French, English
It derives from the Middle English "cane", a development of the Old French "cane", meaning cane, reed.
Derived from the medieval English, male first name Gandelyn, of unknown meaning.
Unexplained.There was a family of this name in Roussillon, France, descended from a partisan of James II named Kennedy, who was exiled in France in the 17th century. The family died out in France in 1868, but may have had an American branch.
Means "singer in a chantry chapel", or from a medieval nickname for someone who was continually singing (in either case from Old Northern French cant
Means "person from Canteleu, Canteloup, etc.", the name of various places in northern France ("song of the wolf").
Habitational name from Canterbury in Kent, named in Old English as Cantwaraburg
"fortified town (burgh
) of the people (wara
) of Kent".
From the Domesday Book of 1086, from the old French word 'capele' meaning chapel.
Means "singer in a chantry chapel" (from Old Northern French capelain
, a variant of standard Old French chapelain
Unexplained. Perhaps a habitational name from Cadshaw near Blackburn, Lancashire, although the surname is not found in England.
This is the last name of Juliet from William Shakepeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.
Probably means "spice merchant" (from Middle English carewei
From a medieval nickname for a dark-haired or swarthy person, from Anglo-Norman carbonel
, literally "little charcoal".
English: metonymic occupational name for someone who carded wool (i.e. disentangled it), preparatory to spinning, from Middle English, Old French card(e) ‘carder’, an implement used for this purpose... [more
From the traditionally British surname, which is a variant of the British surname Caldwell, a from the Old English cald
"cold" and well(a)
Occupational name for a locksmith, Middle English keyere, kayer, an agent derivative of keye.
Carisbrooke is a village on the Isle of Wight; the name is thought to mean "Carey's brook". When in 1917 the British royal family changed its name from the "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" to the "House of Windsor" and renounced all German titles, the title of Marquess of Carisbrooke was created for the erstwhile German Prince Alexander of Battenberg.
This surname of English origin is found chiefly in the Western Midlands. It is a nickname for a carefree person, derived from Old English caru
, meaning "free from" or "without", hence "free from care".
Anyone with information about this last name please edit.
A crossbowman or archer who protected castles and fortresses.
CARRAWAY English (British)
The name Carraway belongs to the early history of Britain, and its origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of one having lived on a road near a field or piece of land that was triangular in shape... [more
English: from Old French carrel, ‘pillow’, ‘bolster’, hence a metonymic occupational name for a maker of these. In some cases perhaps an altered spelling of Irish CARROLL
CARRINGTON English, Scottish
English: habitational name from a place in Greater Manchester (formerly in Cheshire) called Carrington, probably named with an unattested Old English personal name CARA
denoting association + tun
English: habitational name from either of two places: Carrow in Norfolk or Carraw in Northumberland. The first is thought to be named from Old English carr ‘rock’ (a Celtic loan word) + hoh ‘spur of a hill’, while the last may be named either from an Old British plural of carr, or from carr + Old English raw ‘row’... [more
CARSTAIRS English (British)
From the manor or barony of the same name in the parish of Carstairs (= 1170 Casteltarres, 'Castle of Tarres').
From Anglo-Norman French cas(s)e
"case, container" (from Latin capsa
), hence a metonymic occupational name for a maker of boxes or chests.
CASSEL English, French, German
A surname derived from the Latin military term castellum
"watchtower, fort". A variant spelling of the word castle. Denoted someone hailing from the commune of Cassel in the Nord départment in northern France or the city of Kassel (spelled Cassel until 1928) in Germany... [more
Either (i) "person from Cassel", northern France, or "person from Kassel", Germany ("fort"); or (ii) a different form of CASTLE
("person who lives by or lives or works in a castle")... [more
A habitational name from a place named Caston, which is from the unattested Old English personal name CATT
or the Old Norse personal name KÁTI
+ Old English tūn
meaning ‘farmstead, settlement’.