BROOKFIELD was a locational name 'one who dwelt at the field with the brook' from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Place names as family names come from many different centuries and many different countries. They come from places where the original holder of the name lived or had once lived. They indicate the precise locality in whatever way made most sense to other people at the time. In fact very often this kind of name was given to people by their contemporaries, sometimes as nicknames which just stuck. For example if people were living in a foreign country others often called them by the name of their country of origin.Or if they were living in an area of their own country populated by others of a different ethnic origin they may have been called a name which indicated that. If people - whether in their own country or not - were living in a different County, City, Town or Village than the one from which they came (or were thought to have come!) they have often been called by a name to indicate their real or supposed place of origin.And even within a small village or country parish the name of a farm where they lived or of a hill or river or other landmark near their home has often been used to distinguish one person from another especially when personal names (such as Saints names) were very common and weren't enough to clearly identify one individual. Early records of the name mention Adam de Brokefeld, 1332, County Lancashire. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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