This surname of PLOTKIN is an East Ashkenazic Jewish occupational name, derived from the Russian word PLOTNIK, for a carpenter. The name was applied to a maker of wattles and wooden fences. Other spellings include PLOTNIK, PLOTNICKI, PLOTITZKI, PLOTT, PLOTNIKOV and PLOTNICOV. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Many of this family in ancient times served the Russian Throne in noble positions and were granted fiefdoms. A descendant of this family, Ivan Timofeev PLOTNIKOV, in the same way, was granted a charter for fiefdoms in 1671 by Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate, and granted 355 armorial bearings in the 18th century. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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