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Surname Meanings T-Z

Surnames: T-Z Note: Most browsers support text search with Edit|Find.


Taber/Tabor : was the man who beat the tabor, a small drum. It's an English Occupational name.

Taylor is an English occupational name for the tailor, from Old French tailleur < late Latin taliare = to cut. It is among the most commonly found surnames, due to its popularity as a medieval occupation. Variations are Tayler, Tailour, Taylour . Cognate forms include Tailleur, Letailleur, Taillandier, Tallendier. Taylorson, Taylerson are patronymic forms of the name.

Tasker is an English occupational name for the man who did piece-work, especially in reference to the man who threshed corn with a flail. It is derived from Anglo-Norman-French tasque = task, from Old French tasche = task. Tascher is the French version of the name, and Taschereau is a French diminutive form.

Tartarka is a cognate form of the Russian patronymic name Tatarinov, derived from the name Tatarin, Tatar = stammerer (the word is actually of Turkish origin). It was used as a nickname among the Czechs, Italians, and others, as a reference to an uncontrollable person, or a wild-acting person. Tatarintsev is a Russian variant. Tatarski, Tatar, Tartari, Tartaro, Tatarowicz, Tatarkiewicz, Tatarewicz, Tatarek, Tartarini, Tartarino, Taterini, Tartarelli, Tartaroni are other Czech, Polish, and Italian forms.

Teal is an English nickname for the man who was said to somehow resemble the so-named bird in some way, from Middle English tele = teal. Teale is the most common version, while Teall is a variation.

Tello is a Spanish patronymic name from a medieval given name which was similar to the Germanic given name Tila (as represented in Old English). Tellez is a patronymic form and Tesles is a Portuguese patronymic form. It is also found among Italians in this way DeTello , D'Tello and is a place name meaning "from Tello " or some location similar to that spelling.

Templeton is a Scottish place name from Templeton near Dundonald in the former county Ayreshire, now part of Strathclyde. It was so-named for Middle English temple = house of the Knights Templar + toun = settlement. There are also places named Templeton in Wales and other locations, but likely derived their names from someone with the surname, rather than the other way around.

Tenberg was originally Ten Berge , which is a Dutch form of the name Berg , which is a place name for the medieval man who lived by a hill or mountain. It comes from an Old Norse word bjarg which means "hill" or "mountain."
Different cultures used various means to say "from the mountain" or "from the town of Paris" and so on. The Germans used the prefix -von, and the French used the prefix "de." John de'Paris would be "John from Paris." Erik von Berlin would be "Erik from Berlin." The Dutch used several prefixes, including Van den; Van der; Van -- which meant "from" or "from the." Andy Van den Berg would be "Andy from the hill."
Another prefix used was "tot" -- which meant "of." "Andy tot den berg" -- means "Andy of the hill." The "tot" and the "den" were said so quickly that they became a single word -- "ten." It is sort of like a contraction, where "can not" becomes "can't."

Terrell : is an English Patronymic name, with a little Nordic influence. (remember, they invaded early on...) Thurold or Thorold were given names that mean 'Thor, strong' and have lapsed into disuse these days...but during the Middle Ages there were enough that their sons were sometimes known as Terrell, meaning the 'son of Thurold' or 'son of Thorold.'

Terry : is derived from the pet form of the given name Terence, which means 'smooth, tender.' It's an English Patronymic name from a Latin given name.

Testa is a variation of Teste, a French nickname for someone with a large head, (or something distinctive about their head) derived from Old French teste = head < Late Latin testa = head. Variations are Tete, Testu, Tetu . Cognate forms include Testa, Testi (Italian). Diminutive forms are Testot, Tetot, Teston (French); Testini, Tesetino (Italian). Other forms include Testoni, Testone (Italian augmentive); Testard, Teetard, Testart, Tetart, Testaud, Tetaud (French pejoratives); Tester, Testar (English pejoratives).

Tew : English Place name from the Old English word tiewe which meant row, or ridge, and the person living near the ridge became known as Tew.

Theodore is a French patronymic name, derived from Greek Theodoros, and the elements theos = God + doron = gift, and was a popular Middle Ages given name. The Russian version of the name is Fyodor. Cognates are Tudor (Welsh); Teodori, Teodoro, Toderi, Todeo (Italian); Teodoro (Portuguese); Joder (German/Swiss); Teodorski, Fedorski, Fedynski (Polish). Diminutive forms include Doret, Dorin (French); Toderini, Todarini (Italian); Tedorenko, Fedoronko, Fedorchenko, Fedorchik, Fedorchak, Fesenko (Ukranian). Other patronymic forms and diminutive forms exist as well.

Thiele is a Low German diminutive form of the surname Terry from the Norman given name Terry from Old French Thierri, derived from Germanic elements peudo = race, people + ric = power. Variations are Terrey, Tarry, Torrey, Torrie, Todrick ; cognates include Thierry, Thiery, Thery, Thiry, Tery (French); Tiark, Tjark, Jark, Jarck (Frisian). Diminutive forms include Thiriet, Thiriez, Theuriet, Thiriot, Theriot, Thriion, Thirieau (French); Tietzel, Tietze, Thielsch, Tilke, Tillich (German); Thiede, Tiedmann, Thiedemann, Theimann, Thede, Thieke, Tiecke, Theeck, Tietze, Tietzmann, Titze, Tetze, Thiele, Thiel, Tiel (Low German). Many other forms exist as patronymic, pejorative, and diminutive cognates.

Thomas is one of the most common given names, and as a result, it created a HUGE number of surnames found throughout Europe. See the definition under Thompson for more info on its origins...Cognates of Thomas are Tomas (Spanish); Tome (Portugal); Tomas (Catalan); Toma (Rumania); Tuma, Toman, Tomas, Tomes, Tomsa (Czech); Tomasz, Toma (Poland); Tamaasi (Hungarian). Diminutive forms are Thomazin, Thompsett, Thom, Tomalin, Tomabling, Tamblyn, Tompkin, Tonkin (English); Thomasset, Thomazet, Thome, Thomassin, Thomelin, Thoumasson, Thomazon, Thomesson, Thomasseau, Thomazeau (French); Tomassini, Tommasini, Tommasino, Tomadini, Tomaini, Tomaino, Tumini, Tummaselli, Tommasetti, Tumiotto (Italian); Thomel, Domel, Theml, Teml, Dehmel, Demelt, Thamel, Thamelt, Dahmel, Thumnel (German); Thoma, Thomann, Dohmann, Themann, Demann, Thumann, Thomke, Domke, Demke, Demchenm, Dumke (Low German); Tomasek, Demaschek, Tomaschke, Domaschke, Damaschke (German/Slavic influence).

Thomas has so many variations and forms, I couldn't list them all at the time, but Tompkins is a diminutive of the English form, along with Tomazin, Thompsett, Tompsett, Thom, Tomalin, Tombling, Tombin, Tomkin, Tonkin.

Thomasson : English Patronymic name derived from the given name Thomas, which was the preferred usage in Wales, while in England the Patronymic surname evolved as Thoma, Thomasson, Thompkins, Tomlinson, and Toombs .

Thompson : English and Scottish Patronymic name from Thomas (twin) which was a popular name in the Middle Ages (and still is...). The name Thomas comes from an Aramaic term for "twin." It was one of the really popular given names at a very early time, which led to people who bore the name achieving some renown, leading to an increased popularity. The first letter of the name was originally the Greek "theta" which accounts for the TH spelling -- the pronunciation of which was lost due to the French influence in the earliest stages of the name. As with many of the early popular given names, they became the subject of variations due to familiarity or fondness -- pet names, if you will -- in the same fashion that William Clinton is called Bill, or William Mayes was called Willie. Several of the pet forms of Thomas (there are loads of them, like Tom, Tommy, etc.) did not carry on as given names to modern times, and involved the letter -p, which was generally added as a pronunciation aid to make a pet form. For example, from Thomas came the pet form Thompkin, similar to Thumbkin being a "little thumb" (a nursery rhyme). Thompkin was "little Tom" and when someone described his son, they might say William -- Thompkin's son. They also contracted names or dropped the diminutive (or pet) form, which would cause Thompkin as an adult to be known as Thom or Thomp, for short. His son might be described as William -- Thomp's son. And that is what Thompson means -- son of the man known as Thom, Thomp, or Thompkin, or other diminutive form of Thomas.

Thomson : Thomas was a popular given name in the Middle Ages, and it has endured through the years. Thom is a pet form and the man who had Thom for a Dad, was Thom'son. It's an English Patronymic name. Requested by Ronald Thomson

Thurman : Thor was the ancient god of thunder, and was known in Old Norse as Porr (not exactly the correct P as the Norse wrote it, but it's the best this keyboard will do). Porr + mundr = Thor's protection, and that became a given name in Old Norse -- Pormundr , which evolved into the Middle English version Thurmond. Thurman is an English Patronymic Name derived from Thurmond as a given name.

Tipton : English Place name from Staffordshire which described Tibba's homestead. Requested by Philip Terry

Todd : English Occupational Name...In the north of England, a fox was commonly referred to as a 'todd' and the picture of the fox or todd often appeared on the sign outside a roadside inn. (Many couldn't read and the signs used pictures instead.) The animal on the signs often were adopted as surnames by those who lived there.

Surnames ending in the suffix -land generally are place names referencing a field or part of a field. The Old English word toll = tribute, tax gatherer (the meaning carried through to modern English fairly clearly). The toll-land would be the field where the tax collector lived, and Toland would identify a man who lived nearby.

Tolbert is a French and Norman patronymic name from the Germanic personal name derived from Tol = (meaning unclear) + behrt = bright, famous.

Tomlin : English Patronymic name...another derivative of the given name Thomas. Thomas was the preferred usage in Wales, while in England the Patronymic surname evolved as Tomlin, Thoma, Thomasson, Thompkins, Tomlinson, and Toombs . Requested by James Tomlin

Tonin is a variation of the surname Toney, from the medieval given name Toney (Tony), an aphetic form of Anthony. Cognates are Thoine, Toin, Thoin (French); Toni (Catalan); Togni, Ton (Italy); Thon (Germany). There are numerous diminutive forms as well.

Toomey, O'Toomey and Twomey are Anglicized versions of the Gaelic O'Tuama (descendant of Tuama) with Tuama being a personal name derived from tuaim 'which meant "small hill." Other variations are Twoomy, Tuomy, Towmey, O'Twomey, and O'Toomey .

Tourneur is the French version of the English and Scottish occupational name Turner, which was the name for the man who made small objects from wood or metal by turning them on a lathe, from Old French tornier = turn. Variations of the French form are Tornier, Tournier, Tourneux, Letourneur, Letourneux. Tornadou, Tornadour, Tournadre are Provencal cognates.

Towery is likely a variation of the English place name Tower, for the man who lived near a tower or defensive watchtower. It is derived from Middle English tur > Latin turris = tower. Cognates are T our, Latour, Delatour (French); Torres (Provencal); La Torre, Torri, Turri, Della Torre, Torrese, Torrese, Torrisi, Turrisi (Italian); Torre, Torra (Catalan).

Townsend is nearly a literally vocabulary expression for the man who lived at the "town's end" and is derived from Middle English tun,tone = village, settlement + end = end. Variations are Townhend, Townend, Townen .

Tracy : English Place name based on a French town called Tracy which meant 'terrace.' Many English surnames were those based on the name of the former home of those who emigrated with William the Conqueror or soon after. Requested by William Tracy.

Traube is the German occupational name for the grower of grapes for winemaking, from German traube = grape > Middle High German trube = bunch of grapes. In some cases, in may have come from the sign at the inn displaying a bunch of grapes, where the keeper of the house would become known by that name. Variations are Traube, Trubner, Traubner, Traubmann, Traubel, Treibel, Trauble .

Travere is a variation of Travers , the English and French place name that described the man who lived near a bridge or ford, or occasionally as an occupational name for the collector of tolls at such a location. It is derived from Old French traverser = to cross > Late Latin transversare. English variations are T raves, Travis, Traviss, Trevis ; French versions include Traverse, Traver, Travert . Cognate forms include Traversa, Traverso, Traversi (Italian); Travieso (Spain); Traversini is a diminutive Italian form.

Treat : The surname Treat is an English descriptive name that originated with a 'friendly, beloved person' whose company was well-enjoyed, as any treat today would be!

Tremble, Trumble , and Tromble were all descended of men named Trumbold, from elements meaning "strong, bold" and are English patronymic names.

Tricker is a variation of the English nickname Trick, which was given to the crafty or cunning person, from the Middle English word trick = strategem, device. Trickett is a diminutive form.

Trotter is an English and Scottish occupational name for a messenger, from Middle English troten = to walk fast. When of German heritage, Trotter is the occupational name for the grape-treader, from Middle High German trotte = winepress. Trott and Trotman are variants of the messenger, while Trott, Trottmann and Trotmann are versions of the German name.

Trowbridge is an English place name from the so-named location in Wiltshire, derived from Old English treow = tree + brycg = bridge, which referenced a fallen tree serving as a bridge. Troubridge, Trobridge, Trubridge are variations.

Troy : French Place name from Troyes, a place known for "the Gaulish tribe, the Tricassii."

True is a variation of the English nickname Trow, which is derived from Old English trowe = faithful -- and described the man who was trustworthy and steadfast. Variations are Trew, True, Trueman . Cognate forms include Treu, Treue (German); Treu, Treumann Treiman, Getreuer, Getroir, Getrouer (Jewish Ashkenazic).

Trussell is an English name that is either a diminutive form of the Middle English word truss = bundle or package, which would describe a peddler, or it may be a variant of the English Nickname Thrussell, which described a happy, singing person, from a word used to describe a songbird -- throstle. Trussel and Truswell are variations.

Although the origin of Tyrer isn't absolutely certain, it is believed to have come from the Middle English word tiren = to equip, dress -- from Old French atirier , which came from the phrase " a tire " meaning "in order." In that context it would be an occupational name for the man in charge of the wardrobe of an important person of that medieval time and specific location.

Tull is an English patronymic name, believed to have originated in the Old English given name Tula , whose name is of uncertain origin.

Tullos/Tulloh/Tulloch/Tullock : Scottish Place Name near Dingwall on the Firth of Cromarty which got its name from the Gaelic tulach = hillock, or hill.

Tune is a variation of the English place name Toner , which described the person who lived in a village, as opposed to an outlying area like a farm or family settlement. It comes from the Middle English word tune / tone from Old English tun , which meant fence at the time, but came to mean "enclosure" from its usage as a description of primative settlements. When of known Irish heritage, however, it is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name O'Tomhrair , meaning descendant of Tomhrar , whose name meant "protection." Variations are Town, Towne, Toon, Toone, Tune, Townee, Towne, Towning . Cognate forms include Van den Tuin (Dutch), Tuijnman, Tuynman. Zauner is a German cognate form that retained its original meaning of "fence."

Turnbull : Some names are derived from descriptions of their originators...like the Englishman strong enough to 'turn a bull.' Requested by Jennifer Turnbull

Turner : English/Scottish Occupational Name...from the French turnier = turn for the man who used a lathe to turn objects from wood or metal. Requested by Phil Hopkins

Turvey : English Place name from a place by that name whose elements are comprised of OE turf = grassy + eg '= island. Requested by Brock Vodden

Tutt is generally an English patronymic name from the Old English given name Tutta, which can be found among some surviving place names, but isn’t all that popular as a name for boys any longer. Tutnall, and Tuttington are among place names derived from Tutta, which died out as a given name in the Middle Ages.

Tweedy/Tweedie : English Place Name...traced back to the Scotsman who came from the land of Tweedie (which means 'hemming in') in Stonehouse parish, Lanarkshire.

Twigg is an English nickname that described the thin man, and is derived from the Old English word twigge = twig, shoot. It is believed to have been borrowed from Old Norse, since the word occurs late in the Old English period and was confined to the Northern dialects. Twigge is a variation. Zweig is a German cognate, Cwaig, Zeigenhaft, Cwaigenhaft are Jewish Ashkenazic versions, and Tweig, Zweigle , and Zweigel are Jewish versions of Polish origin

Tyler is a spelling variation of the English occupational name Tiler, the man who made and laid tiles, derived from Middle English tile = tile > Old English tigele > Latin tegula, tegere = cover. Tiles were used in floors and pavements in the Middle Ages, but the roof aspect came in the 1500's. Tyler, Tylor are variations. Cognate forms include Thuiller, Tuilier, Thuillier, Tivolier, Tivollier, Thiolier, Thioller, Theolier, Teulier, Teulie, Tullier, Tulliez (French); Tejero (Spain); Ziegler (German and Jewish); Tegler, Tegeler, Tiegeler (Low German); Tichelaar (Dutch).

Tyrrell as a surname is of unclear origin, but it is believed to have derived from Old French tirer = to pull, which when used in the context of an animal and reins and applied to a person, was intended to mean stubborn.' Other variations of the name include Tyrell, Tirrell, Terrill, Terrell, Terrall, Turrell, Tearall, Tirial . Cognates are Tirand, Tirant , and Tirard (French).


Uberuaga : originates from Bizkaia, the Basque Country, Spain, and means Hot Springs in English, derived from the elements ur = water + bero = hot + aga = place of. Submitted by B. Uberuaga.

Ulmer : Research indicates that the original Ulmer who came to Charleston, South Carolina from Germany was named Baron Heinrich Philip Von Ulm. Some sources say that he changed his name in England before coming to the colonies in order to receive a land grant. Submitted by Jim Ulmer. Von Ulm is a Place designation that references Ulm, a city in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

Underwood is a Scottish and English place name that described the man who lived at the edge of the woods, from Middle English under + wood (both terms survived to modern day with the same meanings). It is also a place name that described the man who left any of the several settlements (later towns) by that name, to settle in a new location.

Ungerleider is a variation of the German, Czech, and Jewish ethnic name Unger , which described the Magyar or the man from Hungary. In some instances, it denoted a man who had trade connections in Hungary. Variations include Ungar, Hunger, Hungar, Ungerer, Ungermann, Ungerland, Ungerman, Hungerer, Hungerland . There are many cognate forms in other languages as well.

Uusimake : Finnish Acquired/ornamental Name... Like many other nationalities, the Finnish people often constructed surnames that pleased the ear; maki = hill


Valdez/Valdes : Spanish Place Name...The Spanish and Portugese were fond of bestowing as a surname, the name of the place from which the person had departed. Valdez ends in -ez, so it is Spanish rather than Portuguese where -es is preferred. Valdes was the name of the town that gave its name to those who came to be known as Valdez.

Vail is a variation of the English place name Vale, which described the man who lived in a valley from Old French val and ultimately Latin vallis. Cognates are Val, Vaux, Lavalle, Lavaud, Lavault, Leval, Leveau, Delaval, Deveaux (French) Valle, Valli, Valla, La Valle, Da Valle (Italian); Valles (Spanish); Valeano (Rumanian). Several diminutive forms also exist.

Valentine : means 'vigorous or healthy' and was originally a Latin given name that found its way to various countries. Valentino was a derivative in a number of countries. It's Patronymic in that it was derived from the father's name.

Valerio is an Italian patronymic name, from the medieval given name Valerius (Latin origin) which was the name of several minor Christian saints in the 4th and 5th centuries. Valeri, Valleri Valier, Valer are variations. Cognates include Valere Valeri, Valery (French); Vallier, Valier (Provencal); Valero (Catalan); Valério (Portuguese); Valerius (German).

Dutchmen whose names were those of cities, towns, or districts were identified by the prefix Van- which means "from" or "of the," which also was used in reference to nicknames. I don't have VanCuren listed among my sources, but it means literally "from Curen" or "of the curen" and would identify the man who originated in that locale. If Curen is not an existing Dutch locale, it may be a vocabulary word used as a nickname.

Van den is 'of the' - so if Abbeele is a type of tree, then Van den Abbeele is "of the poplar tree (or whatever type tree it translates to).

The name van der Grinten is Dutch. A grint is a river wash where fine gravel which was washed up has built an island or low-land, for example, Valkengrind, near Roermond, Holland. Contributed by Wolfgang van der Grinten.

Van is a prefix that means "from the" or "of the" and is used in such names as Van Geest , a Dutch name for the man who lived by the barren sandy soil -- literally, "of the sandy soil."

Van Horn is a Dutch place name for the man who lived at the horn-shaped spur of a hill. Van is a prefix that denotes "of" or "from."

Varn : Variation of Fern, an English Place name for someone who lived in a place where many ferns were growing, derived from Old English fearn = fern. Variations include Fearn, Fairn, Feirn, Fearne, Ferns, Farnes, Vern, Verne, Varn, Varne , and Varnes .

Varner is a French version of the German patronymic name Warner, comprised of Germanic elements warin = guard + heri = army. The name was introduced into England by the conquering Normans. Garnier, Gasnier, Guernier, Vernier are other French versions.

Vass/Voss : English Occupational name... OE vassus = serf, Gaelic foss = servant

Veale/Veal : English Nickname...Veale is a name that was influenced by the Normans. Old French viel meant old, and the nickname referred to an old man or the elder of two brothers that had the same given name American heavyweight boxer George Foreman named several of his sons George, so it still happens!). Requested by Kylie Lacey

Veitch/Veach/Vetch/Veath : Veitch is a Norman (Old French) cognitive of the name Veath/Vacca (Italian) which described 'one who herds cows.'

Verdon is predominately derived from Vardon , a Norman name brought to England with William the Conquerer. Verdun is a name held by several locations in France, and is of Gaulic origin, deriving from the elements vern = alder + dun = hill, fortress. Many of the men bearing the name originated from La Manche, and the village called Verdun in that area. During the middle ages there was a dialectic change in which -er was pronounced as if -ar; for example, the cloth-seller was called a marchant, which meant merchant. Later, the erroneous pronunciation was corrected by scholars. Vardon has remained as the predominant version of Verdun, which was corrected in the case of Verdon. Variations of the name are V arden, Derdon Verden, Verduin, Verdin, Verduyn . The French form of the name is Verdu/Verdun . In Catalan it was called Verdu (accent over the -u). The name can also be a French form of the Italian name Verde , from the Italian word verde = green. It is presumed to have been a nickname for someone who always dressed in green. The diminutive form of the French version was often Verdon. Variations of Verde are Verdi, Virde, Virdi, Lo Verde . French forms of Verde are Vert, Vert, Ver, Levert . Other diminutive forms of the name (as in Little Green, Greenie, Greenette, etc.) are Verdelli, Verdini, Verdicchio , (all Italian); Verdel, Verdelet, Verdet, Verdon, Verdonnet (French).

Verdoorn/VanDoorn/Van den Doorne/Doorneman : Dutch Place/Patronymic...A version of the English name THORN; a person living by the thorn bush/hedge, or from the Danish version of "tower". With the prefix Van it becomes "the son of Thorn/Tower" and Ver would denote "from Doorn," a place of thorns. Requested by: David Verdoorn, Jr.

Vermillion is likely a Dutch place name from van der million in a collapsed form, and meaning "from the mill" or a town named in that sense.

The German nickname Vetter is derived from fater = father, by way of Old High German fetiro, which was a generic term for male relatives. The modern German word vetter means 'cousin.' The surname evolved from Middle High German vetere = uncle, nephew - in the sense of father's brother, or brother's son. In Northern Germany, it was also used as a given name. Votter is a variation found in Bavaria; Vetterle, Votterl are diminutive forms.

Vick is derived from separate sources (polygenetic, as it is called). Frederick is an English patronymic name from a Germanic given name composed of the elements frid = peace + ric = power, which was introduced into England by the invading Normans. (Actually, they introduced the name after the invasion, when the fighting settled down.) Vick is a Frisian diminutive form of the name, as are Freddercke, Fedde, Feck , and Fick. If the heritage is known to be English, the name is an English nickname, drawn from the Anglo-Norman-French word l'eveske , which means 'the bishop.' The phrase was erroneously divided as though 'le vick' and the Vick retained, although technically, it should have been Evick. Variations of the English version are Livick, Livock, Leffeck, Veck, and Vick.

Vidal : Italian Patronymic name from Vitale, a name derived from the Latin Vitalis and its root vita which means life. It was a popular name among Italians professing their early Christian faith.

Vinzenz is the German cognate of the English and French patronymic name Vincent from a medieval given name, derived from Latin vincere = to conquer. Vienzenz is another German form, and other German diminutives are Vinz, Vinzel, Finzel, Zentz, Vietze, Fietz, Fietze, Wientzek, Fietzek, Fietzke .

Virgin is a variation of the English surname Virgo, of uncertain origin, but believed to have derived from Latin virgo = maiden, and used as a nickname to describe the man who played the part of the Virgin Mary in the medieval pageant, or simply, nicknames for shy men. Other variations are Virgoe, Vergo, Virgine, Verge .


Wachsmann is the German occupational name for the collector of beeswax, which was used in candle making and in document seals. Vaks, Vaksman, Vacksman, Vax, Vaxman are cognate forms of Yiddish origin.

Waddell is a Scottish place name from Wedale, near Edinburgh. The exact meaning of the town's name isn't clear, but the surname arrived as a way to identify a man who hailed from there. In Scotland, the emphasis is placed on the first syllable, but elsewhere it is generally emphasized on the second to avoid confusion with waddle. Waddel, Waddle, Weddell, Woddell , and Weddle are among the variations. Hugh Waddell was an early American who served in the North Carolina militia and defended the western frontier of that colony during the French and Indian War.

Wadsworth and Wordsworth both derived from the settlement called Wadsworth near Halifax in West Yorkshire, which got its name from the Old English elements Woeddi (a Medieval given name) + worð = enclosure. It described an enclosed settlement headed by a man named Woeddi. A man who removed from there and relocated somewhere else might be described by his new neighbors by pointing out where his place of origin.

Wagner/Waggoner : German/English Occupation Name...One who drove the high-sided carts or wagons carrying produce between manors was called the Waggoner in England, and the German counterpart is Wagner. Among the Pennsylvania Germans who were among the first non-English settlers of the American colony, Wagner also denoted a wagon-maker. According to one survey, Wagner is 116th on the list of most-frequently found surnames in America. Requested by Susan Davenport-Wagner

Wahl is an Ashkenazic Jewish name that is taken from the German word wahl = election, from Old High German wala = choice. It was taken as a name by the descendants of Saul Katzenellenbogen, who was born in 1541 and died circa 1617. According to a Jewish legend, he was elected King of Poland for a single day during a period when Poland was an elective monarchy.

Walker is the English and Scottish occupational name for the fuller (also a surname) from the Old English elements wealcere/wealcan = to walk, tread. The fuller was the dresser of cloth, which was readied by beating it, or soaking it in water and trampling, or walking on it. Walker is sometimes derived also from a place in Northumberland by that name from Middle English wall = Roman wall + kerr = marsh.

Wall/Walls/Waller : English Place and Occupational Name...one who lived by the wall (medieval towns always used them for protection) was Wall/Walls/Waller, and the name was also used to designate the one who did the repair. Requested by: Bev Waller

Walsh : English/Welsh place name. In England, the man from Wales would be described as Walsh, Welsh, Wallace , or Welch -- that is, foreigner or stranger.

Walt : Walter means "rule, army" and has been a popular name since the Middle Ages. There were a number of surnames derived from the given name -- including the pet form Walt. The son of Walt was Walts . It's an English Patronymic name.

Walton : The ending -ton comes from the Old English/Norse -tun which designated a town or settlement. Walton was the 'walled' town or the 'wood' town and is an English Place name.

Wankel is likely a diminutive form of the Low German (of Slavic origin) name Wanke, which is a cognate of the English name John. One of the earliest first names was John, derived from Hebrew Yochanan (gift of God), which in the 17th century replaced William as the most popular name for a male child. Low German cognates of Slavic origin are Wanka, Wahncke, Wancke, Wahnke, Gentzsch, Geniscke, Jentzsch, Jenicke, Janoscheck, Jahncke, Jahnisch , among others.

Wantz is likely a variation of the German (of Slavic origin) patronymic name Wenzel, from that given name, which was a diminutive form of the name Wenze, wilth the diminutive suffix -el added. It was a shortened form of the Old Czech given name Vececlav and was borrowed before the Czech language lost their nasal vowels. Variations are Wentzel, Wanzel, Fenslein, Wetzel, Wodtzel, Watzold, Wentzke, Wenzke, Wentzig, Wetsig . Dimutive German forms are Wenz, Wach, Fach, Feche , among others.

Ward is an English occupational name for the watchman or guard, from Old English weard = guard. It is occasionally derived as an Anglicized version of the Irish (Gaelic) patronymic name Mac an Bhaird . Variations are Warde, Wardman , and Wordman . Wards is a patronymic form.

Ward is the English occupational name for the watchman or guard, from the Old English term weard = guard. Occasionally, it is derived as an Irish patronymic name, as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac an Bhaird , or as an Anglicization of the Jewish surname Warszawczyk. Variations of the occupational name are Warde, Wardman , and Wordman. Wards is a patronymic form.

Warf : is taken from the Old English word hwearf =shipyard and as an English name would designate a man who works at the docks, and the word evolved into our lexicon as wharf. The Dutch equivalent is Van Der Werf .

Warner/Warren : both names were derived from the job of the man who watched over the wildlife at a park. They are both English Occupational names. Requested by Lori Warner.

Waterhouse is an English place name that described the man who lived in a house by a body of water. The name was found primarily in the Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Midlands areas of England as the geographic location of its origin.

Waters is a patronymic variation of the English surname Water, which in itself is a variation of the name Walter -- actually it is the way Walter was pronounced in medieval times. Occasionally it is derived as a place name for the man who lived near a body of water, or from the Irish as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name O Fuarisce and associated with the word fouran = water, spring. Wasser is the German version, Van den Water is found among the Flemish and Dutch. Watters, Warters, Worters, Watterson , Fitzwater are all patronymic forms in addition to Waters.

Warren : English Place Name...(Norman) from La Varrenne in Seine-Maritime which means sandy soil.

Waterworth is an English occupational name that described the 'water bailiff' or the overseer at the water, collector of fees at the water's edge. The name was found primarily in the area of the banks of the now drained freshwater lake Martin Mere in West Lancashire, and was derived from Waterward, from the Middle English elements water + ward = bailiff, guard > Old English woerd = watchman, guard.

Watson is a patronymic form of the English and Scottish name Watt, which came from the extremely popular Middle English given name Wat or Watt, which was a pet form of the name Walter. Diminutive forms of Watt are Watkin, Watking, Watling, Whatling ; patronymic forms are Wattis, Watts, Watson ; patronymics from diminutives are Whatkins, Watkiss, Watkeys, Gwatkins (Wales) Swatkins (Gloucester), and Watkinson.

The name Wayne is actually a spelling variation on one of the oldest professions, that of a wheelwright, or " Wain " wright, as they were called. They were also called Cartwrights (as in Bonanza, the TV show...), from the Middle English word wain = cart, wagon (from Old English woegen ). Sometimes Wain was a place name that described the man who lived at the house that bore a sign of the astronomical constellation of the Plough, which was known in medieval times as Charles' Wain (Charles being short for Charlemagne) -- but that was the exception to the naming rule. Variations include Wayne, Wane, Waine, Waines, Wainman, Whenman, Wenman . In Germany, the man of that profession was called Wegenmann .

Webster is a variation of te English occupational name Webb, who was a weaver, from early Middle English webbe > Old English webba = to weave. By the time the name was adopted, the word webbe was almost obsolete, and the -ster and -er suffixes had found their place in the language, which led to Webster. Webbe, Webber , and Web are variations. Noah Webster was the man behind the book where suffixes and prefixes are readily available, and was a descendant of John Webster, the governor of Conn (1656).

Weeks is a patronymic form of the name Week, which is an English place name that described the man who lived in an outlying village or settlement, removed from the main town or village of the area -- from Old English wic = outlying settlement, farm. In that sense, Week is a variation of the surname Wick, which has the same meaning. Occasionally, Week is a nickname that described the man in poor shape, from Middle English wayke = weak, feeble. Variations are Weake (the more commonly found version), Week, Weekes, Wheeker .

Weiler is polygenetic...one form is the German cognate of the English (Norman) name Villiers, a place name that described the man from any of the so-named locations. The Germans called the same man Weiler. Villers, Villars, Villis , are English variations. Villers, Devilliers, Deviller, Divillier are French versions. Weiler is also a Jewish (Ashkenasic) place name for the man from any of the locations name Weil, in Baden, Wurttemberg, or Bavaria.

Wells is a patronymic form of the English place name Well, which described the man who lived by the spring or stream, and derived from the Old English term wella = well, spring. Variations of Well include: Wells, Weller, Welling, Wellings, Wellman, Welman, Wall, Will, Wool. Cognate forms include Weller, Welle, Wellman (Low German); Van der Wel, Van Wel, Van Wells, Welman (Dutch).

Welter is a Low German cognate of the name Walter, which is derived from Germanic elements wald = rule + heri = army. Wolter, Wolder, Wohlder, Wohldert, Wohlert, Wohler are other Low German versions. Gaultier, Galtier, Galtie, Gauthier, Gautier are among the many French variations; Gualtieri, Gualtiero, Gualdieri (Italian); Walther, Waldherr (German); Wauter, Wouter (Flemish/Dutch).

Wessel : is a Frisian cognative of the name Warner. The Frisian Islands are in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands and near Denmark. It's a patronymic name from the given name Warner (guard).

Westcott is an English place name from any of several so-named locations in Surrey, Berkshire, and others, named from the Old English elements west = west + cot = cottage, shelter. A man who came from that location would be identified by his new neighbors as the man from the "west-cot" ie. John Westcott.

Westmoreland is a spelling derivation of Westmorland, the English place name that described someone from the former county by that name, which was originally called Westmoringaland in Old English, and described the "territory of the people living west of the moors.'

Westwick is an English place name composed of the Old English west = west + wic = outlying settlement. It described the man who lived in the smaller, outlying settlement that depended on a nearby larger settlement (like a suburb, of sorts).

Whaley : English Place Name for the meadow by the road or hill.

Wheeldon is an English place name derived from Old English elements hweol = Wheel + dun = hill, and described the man who lived by the rounded hill.

Whetstone : normally whet is a derivative of white, and white stone would be a place name for one who lived near a prominent white stone...but the Old English word whetten = to make keen + ston = stone --combine for whetstone, an abrasive stone for sharpening tools, which could have been adopted as a surname by the man who used it.

In the Middle Ages, the word -cock- was a generic term for a young man. It originally was used to applied to the young man who strutted proudly about (like the rooster), or was cock-sure of himself, but came to be applied to any young man who was self-assured, or a leader of his peers. As a result, it was applied to several names as a suffix that better-defined the youngish man by his personality. The name Wilcox is a compound name with the elements Will = pet form of William + cock = self-assured young man. Variations are Wilcock, Wilcocke ; Patronymic forms are Wilcocks, Willcocks, Wilcox, Willcox, Willcockson , and Willcoxon.

Whitt is a variation of the Scottish, English, and Irish nickname White, which described the man with white hair, or a pale complexion. There was also a Middle Ages given name Whita, which bore the same meaning (pale complexion), and the name is sometimes a patronymic identifier from that given name . Whyte, Whitte, Witte, Witt are other variations. Cognate forms exist such as Weiss, Weisse, Weisser, Weissert, Wyss (German); Weissmann (Switzerland); Witte, Witt (Low German); DeWitt, DeWitte, DeWit (Flemish, Dutch); Wajs, Wajsowski (Polish). There are also a number of compound surnames among the Jewish (Ashkenazic) names that use Weis or Weiss as the first element of an ornamental surname.

Whitfield is an English place name that describes the man who originally lived in any of the settlements known by that name, found in Kent, Derbyshire, Northumberland, and other locations. The settlements got their names from Old English hwit = white + feld = pasture, open country...and were described that way because of the chalky soil. Whitefield is a variation.

Whitehead is an old English and Scottish nickname, that described the man with the fully grey (white) hair, particularly when it was on the head of a man considered too young to be that way. It is derived from Middle English whit = white + heved = head. Occasionally, it is derived as a mistaken translation of the Irish Gaelic name Canavan, incorrectly using the terms ceann = head + ban = white. Whytehead is a variation of the English and Scottish name.

Wilkerson is a variation of the English patronymic name Wilkin, which was taken from a medieval given name, Wilkin, derived from a shortened form of William (Will) with the addition of a suffix -kin to form a diminutive or pet form of the name. Wilken is a variation; other patronymic forms are Wilkins, Wilkens, Wilkinson, Wilkenson, Wilkerson .

William is among the most commonly found Medieval given names, and as a result, is among the most common surnames. Williams is a patronymic form. William is derived from an Old French given name with Germanic elements wil = desire, will + helm = helmet, protection. It was introduced by followers of William the Conqueror and became in short order one of the most popular given names in England. Bill the Conqueror may have had an influence there... Variations are Welliam, Gilliam, Gillam, Gilham, Gillham Gillum. Cognate, diminutive, and other forms exist in great number.

Winegardner is likely an Americanized form of an occupational surname found in many countries -- although it may be a simple spelling variation. In Germany, the man who lived by the vineyard, or who worked in the vineyard, was known as Weingardt, Weingartz, Wingert, Weingartner, Weingarter . In England, (where wine production was more common in medieval times than today) the man was called Winyard, Wynyard, Wingard , and Winnard. The Flemish form is Wijnyaerd or Van de Wijngaerden . The Dutch is Wijngaard or Van Wijngaarden , and the Ashkenazic Jewish form is Weingarten . In Denmark and Norway the name is spelled Wiingard and Wiingaard .

Winrow is an English surname of uncertain origin found chiefly in Lancashire, possibly a place name from the Old Norse elements hvin = whin, gorse + vra = nook, corner. Variations are Whinrow, Whinwray, Whineray, Whinnerah .

White : English/Scottish/Irish Nickname for the man with white hair, or pale skin, from the Middle English whit = white. Requested by Darryl Rogers

Whitehead : is an English Nickname that described the man with the fair hair, or the prematurely white hair. It's from the Old English whit =white + heved =head.

Whitelock/Whitlock/Whitlatch : English Descriptive name for the man who had an especially white head of hair. Requested by James Whitlatch

Whitmer/Whitemore : English Place name derived from Whitemore, in county Staffordshire. It was a white barren ground, and the man who lived near could easily be identified by his dwelling's location.

Wien : German/Jewish Place Name for a city in Vienna of Celtic origin. There was a large Jewish population in Vienna previous to the Holocaust. Requested by Jane Cowart

Wiesenhunt : German place name from Middle High German wise = meadow. Requested by Jane Cowart

Wiesner is a variation of the German place name Wiese which described the man who lived near a patch of meadowland, from the Old High German wisa = meadow. Wieser, Wiesener, Wiesemann are other variations. Iterwies is found among the Lowland Germans, while Wiesner and Wiesen are variations found among Jewish ancestries (Wiesner is polygenetic, in that it has multiple origins).

Wiggins is a patronymic variation of the English name Wiggin, derived from the Breton given name Wiucon, with elements meaning worthy + high, noble. The name was brought to England by followers of William the Conqueror. Occasionally, the name is derived from the given name Wigant, which originally was a nickname meaning 'warrior' and also introduced during the Conquest. Variations are Wigin, Wigan , and Wigand. Cognates in Germany are Weigand, Weigang, Weigt, Weicht, Wiegandt , and Wiegank. Other patronymic versions are Wiggans and Wigens.

Willmon is a diminutive variation of the English patronymic name William, from the Norman form of an Old French given name composed of the Germanic elements will = will, desire + helm = helmet, protection. The name was introduced into England with William the Conqueror. Other diminutive variants among the English are Willmett, Wilmot, Willimott, Willmin, Wilmin, Willimont .

Wilcynski : is a Polish Place name and is derived from the Polish wilk which means wolf. Wilk was generally used to describe someone wolf-like -- but in the case of Wilcynski, it indicates a place name, and could be for the man who lived near the wolves.

Wiley : Some names were taken from the places where the home was kept...in the case of the man who became known as Wiley, he lived near the Wiley River in England, which was so-called as a "tricky" river.

Wilson/Willson/Will : Scottish/N.English Patronymic name derived from the given name William. It was also sometimes an English Place name for the person who lived by the stream or well from the Saxon wiell = well.

Wimberly is an English place name that described the man who lived near the windy wood or clearing, and is comprised of the Old English elements windbaere = windy + leah = woods, clearing. Settlements found at the "leah" were often described by the man who headed the settlement, as in "Wilmoer's leah" which is the origin for the surname Womersley . It may be possible that the name Wimberly corresponds to a given name that is now lost. There other names, though, that reflect a continually windy area.

Windt is a variation of the English place name Wind, which described the man who lived near a path or alley, or particular road. It is derived from Old English gewind > windan = to go, proceed. Occasionally it was the nickname for a swift runner. Winde is another variation. If it is from German origin, it is likely a variation of Wendt, from Wend, an ethnic name for the people who once occupied a large section of Northern Germany and contributed greatly to the names of the locale.

Winter is found among the English, German, and Danish/Norwegian names that are derived as a nickname for the man with the gloomy or cold personality, from the Middle English vocabulary word that survived to present day. Occasionally it is drawn as a Jewish ornamental name, taken -- or distributed at random -- at the government's order. Also, Winter is occasionally an Anglicized version of Mac Giolla-Gheimhridh , which translated as "son of the servant of Winter," or something similar. Patronymic forms include Winters, Wynters, Winterson . Variations include Wynter, Wintour (English); Vinter (Norwegian/Danish). De Winter is a Flemish and Dutch cognate form. Winterl, Winterle, Winterlein are German diminutive forms.

Wlodylo is a Polish cognate variation of the Russian and Bulgarian patronymic surname Vladimirov, from the given name Vladimir, comprised of the Slavic elements vlad = wealth, rule + mer = famous, glorious. St. Vladimir was extremely popular during his time (died 1015) and as a result Vladimir was one of the few Slavic names that were accepted for Orthodox baptisms. Volodimerov is a Russian variation. Polish cognates include Wlodzimirski, Wlodzimierski ; Jewish cognates are Vladimirski, Vladimirsky ; Rumanian cognates (patronymic) are Vladimiresco, Vladimirescu ; Other diminutives are Volodko (Ukraine); Volodzhko (Belorussian); Wlodek, Wolodko (Polish), Wlodasch, Wlotska, Wlotzke (German of Slavic origin).

Wingate : English Place Name...taken from the Wingate, Durham area of England. Wingate was the 'pass where the wind blows.'

Wirth is the German and Ashkenzic Jewish occupational name for the innkeeper, from the German word Wirt = host, and occasionally is found as a German status name for the head of the household, in the sense of "provider." Wurth is a variation; Wurthle, Wirthgen are diminutive forms. Wirtz, Wirths are patronymic versions.

Wöhrlein is derived from Germanic elements warin = guard + heri, hari = army and is a patronymic cognate of Warner. Low German patronymic forms include Werning, Wereking, Warnkonig, Warnkes, Warnken, Warning . Warner is English of Norman import, with cognates in several languages.

Womack : English Place name that designated a 'hollow or crooked oak' tree. The person who wound up with the surname was the one who lived nearby. Requested by Mark Womack

Normally, the name Wood described the man who lived in or near a wood, but it sometimes was used as an occupational name for the woodcutter. It is derived from the Middle English word wode = wood, from Old English wudu = wood. Variations are Woode, Woods, Wooder, Wooding, Woodings, Wooddin, Woodin, Attwood, Bywood . Cognate forms are idde, Wehde, Wede, Wehe, Weh, Wedemann, Wehmann (Low German); Wedin, Vedin (Swedish). Wedberg is a Swedish compound ornamental name that is literally translated as "wood hill."

The standard Place-name suffix -ford (occasionally spelled - forde ) was sometimes corrupted into - fork , as a result of colloquial dialect, misunderstanding, or just 'fooling around.' At any rate, the root name of Woodfork is Woodford, which is an English and Scottish Place name that described a man who came from any of the so-named settlements, found in Essex, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Northampton, and other areas of medieval England and Scotland. Woodford is comprised of the Old English elements wudu meaning wood + ford. A ford is a place of crossing at a stream or river. The wood-ford was the stream or river crossing near the woods, which is what the settlements that were established there became known as, and a number of the inhabitants of the settlement became known as, when surnames helped identify a particular person. Other variations of Woodford are Woodforde, Woodfords , and Woodforks.

Wooster is an English place name from Worcester, derived from Old English ceaster = roman fort, which was added to a now-unrecognized tribal name. Wostear, Worcester, Worster are variations.

Wojcik/Wojtas : Polish Patronymic Name...The Czech missionary who converted Poland to Christianity was Voitech, which meant 'noble, bright.' The Polish version of the name was Wojciech which became a family name in Poland, and another form of the name was Wojcik , as was Wojtas .

Word : is an English (and German) place name for the man who lived near the thicket. Or near a winding brook. Or the man who inhavited an open place in a village. Or the man who had an ancestor named Werdo, which was a pet form of the name Werdmann or Werdheri. In the case of the latter, it's a Patronymic name.

Wyatt : the word wido was Old German for 'wood' and was brought to England with the Normans as the given name Guy. Diminutive forms include Wyatt

which was adopted as a Patronymic surname.

Wyles is a variation of the English occupational name Wileman, which described the man who trapped or hunted for a living. It was derived from Middle English wile = trap, snare + Old English mann = man. Wiles is another variation.


Nearly every name that begins with Yak is a form of the name Jacob, and the -son suffix is a patronymic indicator, which would indicate "son of Jacob" for Yakerson, and is similar in form to the many Jewish patronymic names of the same order, such as; Yakoboff, Yakubov, Jakubowski, Yakubowski, Yakobovitch , etc.

Yates is a patronymic form of Yate, the North English place name for the man who lived near a gate, or occasionally an occupational name for a gatekeeper, from Old English geat = gate. Yeats, Yeates, Yetts, Yeatman, Yetman are variations.

Yisek is a variation of the Jewish, English, and French name Isaac, derived from the given name Yitschak , derived from Hebrew tsachak = to laugh. Isaac has always been a popular name among Jews but was widely used by Christians as well during medieval times, and as a result, gentile families bear the last name as well. Variations are Isac, Isaak , Issac, Issak, Izac, Izak, Itshak, Itzshak, Yitzhak, Yitzhok, Jzak, Eisik, Eisig, Aizik, Aizic, Aysik, Ajsik, Ishaki, Izchaki, Izhaki, Izhaky, Yitschaky, Yitshaki, Yitzchaki, Yizhaki, Yithaky, Jizhaki, Itzchaki . Numerous patronymic forms exist as well.

Young : Comparitive age was an easy way to reference men with a common name -- for example, John, the young -- as opposite to John, the elder. It is sometimes found with the old spelling Yong, and is found in other languages. Jung is the version found in Germany, and Jaros is the Polish variety.

Youngblood is an English nickname, a compound name derived from the words Old English geong = young + blód = blood, which meant "young relative." Young generally designated one of two men with the same given name, and blood was an affectionate term for a blood relative.

When of English origin, the name Zell is a variation of the place name Sell, derived from Old English (ge)sell, which described the man who lived in a rough hut generally occupied by animals - many times the man living there was the herdsman. Selle, Sells , and Zelle are other variants.

Zillwood is derived from a forest on the Somerset / Wiltshire border in the southern UK, "Sellwood Forest". The first reference to the forest was in 878AD as Selewudu , meaning Sallow Wood or Willow Forest. The sallow part seems to originate from the latin for "aspirin like effect" of the under layer of the willow bark, salicylates (Latin Salix = willow) The Wessex dialect and the inability of the majority of its people to read or write led to the Parish Priest or Recorder spelling the name phonetically and changing it over time from Sel(l)wood to Zillwood. Submitted by John Zillwood

Zimmerman is the German form of the occupational name Carpenter, derived from Middle High German zimbermann , formed from zimber, zimmer = timber, wood + mann = man. Zimmerer, Zimmer, Zimerman, Cimerman, Cymerman Cymmermann, Cimermann, Timmerman, Timmermann are variations.

Susko is a variation of Zisin, a Jewish metronymic name derived from Zise, a Yiddish female name that meant "sweet" + the suffix -in. Zissin, Susin, Zisovich, Ziszovics are variations. Diminutive forms include Ziske, Ziskis, Ziskin, Zyskin, Siskin, Suskin, Susskin, Ziskovitch, Ziskovich, Ziskovitz, Zuscovitch, Susskovich, Suskovich, Susko, Zislis, Zislin, Sislin, Zisslowicz .

Among the Slavic countries, the names Ziv, Zivin , and Zivney had their origins in descriptions of people and became nicknames for the "vigorous, alert" man.

Zumberge is a variation of the Germanic place name Berg , with addition of the prefix -zum (at the) generally found among the Lowland Germans, Swiss, and Dutch. Berg comes from Old High German berg and Old Norse bjarg -- and both meant "hill" or "mountain."

Zumwalt/Zumwald : The prefix -zum is the German indicator for "at the" or "of" and Zumwalt and Zumwald are "at the woods," or "of the woods."

Zweiacker : is two German words, Zwei and Acker, Zwei is the number 2 and Acker means field. Submitted by a Zweiacker surnamer.

Last Name Meaning

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last updated on: September 13 2018

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