The surname BADMINTON is a classic example of a rare English location name. It originates from the villages of Great and Little Badminton, Gloucestershire, whose existence was first recorded in AD 972. The spelling then was BADIMYNCG TUN which has been translated as Beadmund's farm or Baeddas mint farm, either is quite logical. The surname dates from much later and most likely would have been given to people from the Badmintons after they had left those villages. An early record of the name was Anthonie Badminton who was recorded as having married at nearby Thornbury on June l7th, l565. Badminton Park, scene of the horse trials and home of the Duke of Beaufort, whose surname is Somerset, is in Great Badminton. Badminton the game is based on a very ancient pastime which involved keeping a lightweight object in the air with the use of a racquet. The modern game originated at Badminton House in l860 as an indoor alternative to lawn tennis. Surnames can be divided into four categories; place names, occupation names, nicknames and patronymics. PLACE NAMES are the largest group and covers all those names first applied to people who lived in or nearby to a particular place. For example, Grove, Wood, Field, Meadow, and Street are obvious. Occasionally names were taken from obscure villages or hamlets which no longer exist and this can make research confusing. OCCUPATION NAMES cover nearly all trades which existed in the Middle Ages. These are numerous. It does not necessarily follow that such names as King, Duke, Earl and so on mean your ancestors were of noble blood. It is much more likely that such named people worked for the person referred to. NICKNAMES. This is a smaller group but in many ways more interesting. They usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. For instance the name Black would denote a dark man, Little, someone small (or even somewhat ambiguously) someone tall. PATRONYMICS. This group covers all names which derive immediately from the owner's father. Many christian names which are also surnames have, over the years, lost the possessive form but the origin is still the same. Examples of this could be names such as Peter,Thomas, Henry - all names which became both christian and surnames over the years.
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