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Surname Meanings I-O

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Ide is an English and Low German patronymic name from the German given name Ida, from the element id = to work or perform, and was a name used by both men and women. It was a popular name among the Normans and was brought to England with William the Conqueror. It was discontinued as a given name about the mid-14th century. Variations are Hyde and Ihde; Itt is a Low German cognate, and Ikin is a diminutive form found in England.

Ingersoll/Ingersall/Inkersall/Inkersole/Ingsole: English Place Name from Derbyshire which was written in the 13th Century as Hinkershill and was derived from Old Norse name Ingvair + the Old English term hyll = hill; literally Ingvair's Hill.

Inman is an English occupational name for the keeper of the public house, or inn, from Middle English innmann, from Old English inn = abode, lodging + mann = man. This is distinctly different from the tavern, where beverages were sold, but no lodging was offered.

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.


Jack is a Scottish and English patronymic name, from the Old French given name Jacques, which was the French form of the Latin Jacobus. It is also a Scottish and English pet form of John, borrowed from Low German and Dutch pet forms Jankin and Jackin, which come from Jan (the German version of John). Occasionally Jack is derived as an Anglicization of similar-sounding Jewish names. Variants of the English form are Jake and Jagg, Jacques, Jaquith . Cognates include Iago (Wales); Jagoe, Jago, Jeggo (Cornish); Jacques, Jacque (French); Jacq (Provencal); Giachi, Giacchi, Iacchi, Zacchi, Zacco (Italian). Jacks, Jags, Jakes , and Jackson are all patronymic forms of Jack.

Jackson : is an English Patronymic name from the Old French given name Jacque, which was the French form of Jacob ( Yaakov in Hebrew, meaning heel -- it's a long story...)

Jacobs is a patronymic form of Jacob, an English, Jewish, and Portuguese surname from Latin Jacobus < Hebrew Yaakov. Jacob, James , and Jack are all derived from this source. Variations include Jacobb, Jacobbe, Jeacop, Jecop (English); Jakov, Yakob, Yaakov, Yakov, Jacobi, Jacoby (Jewish). Cognate forms include Giacobbo, Giacobo, Giacubbo, Giacoppo, Iacobo, Iacopo, Iacovo, Iacofo, Copo, Coppo (Italian); Jakob (German); Kobus (Flemish, Dutch); Jakubski, Kobus, Kobiera, Kobierski, Kobieraycki, Kubas, Kubisz, Kupisz, Kubacki, Kubicki, Kubera (Polish); Jakoubec, Kubu, Kouba, Kuba, Koba, Kob, Kopa, Kopac, Kopal, Kubal, Kubala, Kubat, Kubec, Kubes, Kubin, Kubis, Kubista, Kupec (Czech); Jakab, Kabos (Hungarian). Numerous diminutive forms are found, as are patronymic versions such as Jacobs, Jacobson (English); Jakobsen, Jakobs (Low German); Jacobsen, Jakobsen (Danish, Norwegian).

James is an English patronymic name derived from Hebrew Y aakov > Latin Jacobus > Late Latin Jacmus -- and believed originating in the Hebrew term akev = heel. A biblical story contains the mention of a heel in the birth of Jacob. In English, Jacob and James are distinctly separate names, but throughout the rest of the world, the two are considered the same name in cognate form. Cognates of James are Jacqueme (French); Jayume, Jaulmes, Jaume, Jaumes (Provencal); Giacomo, Giamo, Giacomi, Iacomo, Iacomi, Como, Comi, Cumo (Italian); Jaime (Spanish); Juame (Catalan). There are dozens of diminutive forms of James. Patronymic forms include Jameson, Jamisom, Jamieson, Jemison, Jimpson, Jimson, Gemson, Gimson (English); McKeamish, McJames , (Scot); Di Giacomo (Italian); Jaimez (Spanish).

Janson is a variation of the English Patronymic name Jane, derived from the Middle English given name Jan, a variant of John. The feminine name Jane was not around during the period of time when surnames originated. Other variations are Jaine, Jayne, Jean, Jenne, Genn, Jaynes, Jeynes, Jannis, Janns, Jenness , and Jennison, among others.

Janzen is one of the many cognates of the Patronymic surname -- John -- which was from the Hebrew name Yochanan, meaning 'Jehovah has favoured me with a son.' It was adopted into Latin as Johannes and throughout the early Christian era in Europe (and still today!) enjoyed great popularity as a given name. In Wales the name is called Evan, or Ioan, in Scotland it is Ian or Iain, the Irish version is Sean, the German is Johann and Hans; in Dutch and Flemish it becomes Jan; in French it is Jean; Italian is Giovanni, Gianni, Vanni ; in Spain it is Juan; it Portugal John becomes Joao; the Greek form is Ioanni; Czechoslovakians have Jan, while Russians prefer Ivan. In Poland it becomes Jansz or Iwan. The variation Janzen is found in several languages as a patronymic form of Jan (John), including Low German, Dutch, and Danish. Other German patronymic forms are Johansen, Jansen, Johanning, Jans, Jahns, Jantzen, Janz, Janning ; other Dutch forms are Jans, Johansen, Janse, Jansen, Janssen ; and other Danish versions are Johannesen, Johansen, Johnsen, Jensen, Joensen, and Jantzen.

Jarrett is a diminutive form of the French occupational name Jarre, which described the potter, from Old French jarre = earthenware vessel. Jerrier is a variation of Jarre. Jarron is another diminutive form.

Jarvis is an English patronymic name, from the given name Gervase , brought to England by the conquering Normans, and comprised of the Germanic elements geri = spear + vase = meaning unclear. Jarvis is also a place name, from Jervaulx in Northern Yorkshire, the site of a Cistercian monastery and named from the Anglo-Norman-French name of the river Ure + vaulx = valley. Jervis is a variation of the first case, and Gervis, Gervase , and Jarvie are variations of the second origin.

Jarzembek is a variation of the Polish place name Jarzebowski, derived from Polish jarzab = service tree + -ow = possessive suffix + -ski = suffix of local surnames. Other variations are Jarzebski, Jarzabek.

Jeanes/Jeanne/Jayne : Norman-French Place Name....Guido de Genez came to England with the Norman Conquest and was granted lands there. Genez is a placename in Normandy. Anglicized to Jeanes; also de Genes, Jenis, Janes, Jans, J'Anes, Jeanne, Jeynes, Jayne, Jane, Janns.

Jenks is an English Patronymic name derived the long way around from the given name Jenkin (normally suffixes are added rather than taken away), in this case, the Anglo-Norman suffix -in is removed. Jenkin was a Middle English given name that came as a diminutive form of John.

Jennings is an English patronymic name from the Middle English given name Janyn, a diminutive form of John (from Hebrew -- Jehovah has favored me with a son). Variations are Jannings, Jennins, Jennens .

Jennison is a variation of the patronymic name Jane (not to be confused with the female given name Jane, which didn't appear until the 17th century). Jane evolved from Jan , a Middle English version of John, which was found primarily in the Devon and Cornwall areas of England. Jennison is a patronymic form designating the "son of Jan." Other forms are Jain, Jaine, Jean, Jenne, Jenn, Genn, Janet, Jennett, jankin, Janes, jaynes, Jeynes, Jeanes, Jeans, Jeens, Jeneson, Jannis, Jans, Janson, Jenns, Jenness, Jenison, Jennison .

Jeter is a French vocabulary word (pronounced jshuh-tay -- that's as close as I can get without a soft-J pronunciation symbol) that has several contexts with which it is used, but as a place reference, a jeter is a common expression for an "empty river" and may have developed in that context.

Juliard/Julliard/Julianus/Julius : French Patronymic Name....Juliard is a French version of Julian/Julianus/Julius which derived from the Latin Julius meaning youthful looking -- literally as "downy-bearded." Requested by: Paul Pruitt

John is one of the most popular of the medieval names, and took several forms even in medieval times. John derived from Hebrew Yochanan (God has favoured me with a son). I have listed many versions of the name on the website, but certainly not all. Jahncke (Jähncke) is a diminutive form of the German (of Slavic origin) cognate of John, including Jann, Jahn (Low German). Other diminutive forms include Johnikin, Johnigan, Jonikin, Jonigan (English/Irish); Jeannet, Jeanet, Joannet, Jouandet, Jeandet, Jantet, Jentet, Jouanneton, Jeannin, Jouannin, Jouanny, Jany, Janny, Jeandin, Jentin, Jeannenet, Jeannot, Jouanot, Jeandon, Janton, Jenton, Jeannel, Jeandel, Jantel, Jeanneau, Jeandeau, Jenteau, Jeannequin, Jannequin, Johanchon , (French); Giovannelli, Gianelli, Giovannilli, Gianiello, Gianilli, Cianelli, Iannelli, Ianello, Ianniello, Iannilli, Zannelli, Zuanelli, Zuenilli, Vannelli, Nanelli, Giovannetti, Ninotti, Zanetello, Zanettini, Nannini, Notti, Noto (Italian); Jähnel, Jähne, Jäne, Jähndel, Jähnel (German); Juanico (Spain); Johnke, Jönke, Jenne, Jennemann (Low German); Jansema (Frisian); Jähncke, Jäncke, Jänke, Jahnisch, Janisch, Jansch, Jannuscheck, Janoschek, Jenicke, Jentzsch, Jentsch, Genicke, Genike, Gentzsch, Gentsch, Wahnncke, Wanka, Wanjek, Wandtke, Nuschke, Nuscha (German of Slav origin).

Johnson : English Patronymic Name:One of the earliest first names was John (gift of God), which in the 17th century replaced William as the most popular name for a male. As a patronymic name, Johnson from England and Scandinavia became the most widely found name in America, and its Welsh version Jones the fifth-most prolific.

If Joines is not derived as a variation of the English occupational name Joiner (the man who created wooden furniture) it is a patronymic version of the French surname Jouvin, from the Latin given name Iovinus = Jupiter, the principal god of pagan Rome. An early saint in France (obscure now) bore the name, which allowed Jouvin to survive as a given name into the Middle Ages. Jovin, Join, Jouin, Jevain are variations. Diminutive forms include Jovignet, Jovelin, Jovelet, Joindeau, Joinet, Jouon, Jout, Jouet .

Jones : English Patronymic Name:One of the earliest first names was John (gift of God), which in the 17th century replaced William as the most popular name for a male. As a patronymic name, Johnson from England and Scandinavia became the most widely found name in America, and its Welsh version Jones the fifth-most prolific. Requested by: Bev Waller

Josselyn is a variation of Jocelyn, taken from an Old French name by circuitous route, by way of Goscelin, Gosselin, Joscelin, which was brought to England before the Conquest but was spread by the Normans' widespread usage of the given name. Most versions have Germanic origins from Gauzelin, a variation of several names with Gaut (a tribal reference) as part of the name. It was eventually adopted as a diminutive form of the Old French given name Josse. Variations are Joscelyne, Joscelyn, Joselin, Joslen, Josling, Joseland .

Jovan : Slavic Patronymic name...Likely Anglicized version of Jovanovic , a Slavic version of the given name John, which came from the Hebrew Yochanan, which meant `Jehovah has favored me with a son.'

Joy comes from Middle English, by way of Old French joie,joye = joy, which described the cheerful person. Variations are Joye, Joie, Joyet .

Jurista / Yurista are likely variations of a Slav cognate of the surname George, a popular name during the Middle Ages, derived from Germanic georgos = farmer, a compound form of ge = earth + ergein = to work, till. Germanic cognates of Slavic origin include Jerschke, Jurick, Juschke, Juschka, Gorcke, Goricke ; Czech forms are Jirik, Jiricek, Jiricka, Jiracek, Jirasek, Jurasek, Jiranek ; Polish forms are Jurek Juczyk ; Ukrainian is Yurchenko; Patronymic forms include Juris, Jurries, Jorger (German); Yurov, Yurevich (Beloruss) and others.

Justice : English Patronymic name that is derived from the given name Justus which means 'the just,' and in some cases was applied to the man who performed the duties of the judge. If nowhere else -- you can find Justice on these pages! Requested by Herb King


Kampert is likely a variation of Kamper, a Low German cognate of the French place name Champ, which described the man who lived near an area of open country or a field and was derived from the vocabulary word champ = field > Latin campus = plain, open expanse.

Kanner is a variation of the German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) occupational name Kannengiesser , which described the man who made vessals from metal, generally speaking, the man who worked in pewter. Variations include Kannegiesser, Kanngiesser, Kannegieter, Kannegeter .

Kantor : German Occupational Name...Kantor is the one who sang liturgical music in the synagogue.

Karle is a variation of Charles, a French, Welsh and English surname, from the Germanic given name Carl = man. Karl, the German cognate form, was not in use as a given name during the Middle Ages, and is rare or unknown as a German surname since it was restricted to nobility. English variations of Charles are Karl, Karle, Carle . French forms are Charle, Charlon, Carle, Chasles, Chasle . Cognate forms are Carlo, Caroli, Carlesi, Carlisi, Carlesso (Italian); Carlos (Spain); Carles (Catalan); Kerl, Kehrl, Keerl (Low German); Karl (Jewish Ashkenazic); Karel, Kares (Czech); Karoly, Karolyi (Hungarian). Patronymic forms include Charleston (t-added); McCarlish (Scottish); De Carlo, De Carli, Di Carlo, De Carolis (Italian); Carlens (Flemish/Dutch); Karlsen, Carlsen (Norwegian); Karlsson, Carlsson (Swedish); Karlowicz, Karolak, Karolczak (Polish).

Kasparek is a Polish diminutive form (if you remove the diacritical marks from the Czech version, it is also the Czech form) of the German and Polish patronymic name Kaspar, from the given name which originally meant "treasurer" in Persian. It is supposed to have been one of the three Magi's names and gained popularity in Europe after the 12th century. Variations include Kasper, Kesper, Casper (German); Kasparski, Kasperski, Kasper, Kaszper, Sperski (Polish). Cognate forms include Jaspar, Jasper, Jesper (Low German); Jesper (Flemish); Jasper (English); Kaspar, Kasper (Czech); Gaspar (Hungarian); Casperii, Gasperi, Gaspero, Gasparri, Gasparro, Gaspardo, Gaspardi, Gasbarri, Parri (Italian).

Keach : is an English nickname given the man who was a little chubby. From the Middle English keech = fat, with variants Keech, Keetch, Keatch, and Keitch.

Keen, the English nickname for the brave man, from Middle English kene > Old English cene = fierce, brave. Keene is a variation, and Kenning is a patronymic form.

Keesee is a variation of Keese, which is a Low German cognate of the occupational name known as Cheeseman in English-speaking countries, which described the maker or seller of cheese. The English word is derived from Old English cyse = cheese + mann = man. Cheesman, Cheseman, Chesman, Cheasman, Chiesman, Chisman, Chessman, Chismon, Cheese, Chiese, Cheesewright, Cheeseright, Cheswright, Cheeswright, Cherrett, Cherritt are variations of the English form. Other cognate forms are Käsmann, Käser, Keser, Käs, Käse (German); Kaasman, Kaas, Keesman (Low German); Caesman (Flemish); Kaes, Kaas, Kaaskooper (Dutch); Keizman, Keyzman (Jewish); Chasier, Casier, Chazier, Chesier, Chezier, Chazerand (French); Casari, Casaro, Caseri, Caser, Casieri, Casiero, Case (Italian); Queyeiro, Queyos (Portuguese).

Kellett is an English place name from so-name locations in Lancashire and Cumbria which derived their names from Old Norse kelda = spring + hlid = slope, hillside. Kellet and Kellitt are variations.

Kelso : Scottish Place name that was used to describe the man who lived near the 'chalky height' -- a place they would have recognized during the Middle Ages when surnames were adoped there. Requested by Liz Kelso

Kempf is a German cognate (same meaning, different language) of the English surname Kemp, the Occupational name for the man who was a champion at jousting or wrestling. It is derived from the Middle English word kempe, which came from Old English cempa = warrior, champion, which itself came from Latin campus = field, plain of battle. Kempe is a variation of the English name, while other cognates include Kampf, Kömpf from Germany; Kempner, Kempe from German Low Regions; Kemper from Holland. Patronymic versions include Kempson, Kempers , and Kemppainen (Finnish).

Kemplay is likely a variation of Kempfle, a diminutive form of Kempf, the German surname for the wrestling or jousting champion.

Kern/Kerns/Curn : Many German names are taken from the short, or pet form of a given name. Kern (of which Curn may be a derivative) is taken from Gernwin (spear, friend) when it isn't the man who emigrated from Kern, the German town. It's a German Patronymic name when not from the town, and a German Place name in that case.

Kerwin, Kirwan and others are commonly accepted as Irish surnames that described the swarthy man, or black-haired man. Spellings are varied because none of these names were Anglo to begin with, but were actually the Gaelic name O Ciardhubhain , which means "descendant of Ciardhubhan" whose name was composed of the elements ciar = dark + dubh = black + the diminutive suffix -an. When the name was Anglicized, it took a number of versions: while Kirwan is the most commonly found, these also derived from O Ciardhubhain -- Kirwen, Kirwin, Kirivan, Kierevan, Kiervan, O'Kirwan, O'Kerevan, O'Kerrywane . Since most of the population was illiterate, spellings were often the whim of whoever recorded the name at a particular point in time, and whether that spelling managed to survive until recorded on deeds or similarly abstracted materials.

Kerr is a Scottish and North English place name for the man who lived by the area of wet ground that was covered with brushy growth, from the Middle English (Northern) term kerr , from Old Norse kjarr . It is generally pronounced like the auto -- car -- which reflects the dialect and a Middle English misconception about the pronunciation of the -er spelling. Similarly, the name for the clerk was pronounced "clark" and the merchant was called the "marchant." Carr is a spelling variation based on the pronunciation. Scholars later re-educuated the public about the sound and some surname pronunciations were changed at the same time. Being in Scotland, and exposed to the Gaelic term cearr (wrong, left-handed), it became part of the local folklore that the Kerr family members were left-handed. Keir, Ker are variations. Kjair, Kiaer are Danish cognate forms. Karrstrom is a Swedish adopted ornamental name from Swedish elements meaning (marsh + river).

Kesterson : Some names are a combination of types: In Germany, the official in charge of the church sacristy was the Kuester (the English equivalent was Sexton) and Kiester, Kester and Koester are variations of that occupational name. The - son at the end is a Patronymic designation that denotes the descendant of the Church Kuester. Requested by Gloria Markus

Ketchum could have been the speedy man, that no matter how quick his prey, he could always ketch'um...just fooling. It sounds plausible, but in reality, Ketchum is an English Place name for the man who resided at Caecca's homestead or settlement, derived from the elements Caecca + ham = homestead, settlement.

The name Kettle is derived from the Old Norse given name Ketill, which was a shortened version of several compound names that had that element included, derived from ketill = cauldron. Variations are Kettel, Kettell, Ketill, Kitell, Kittle, Kell . Patronymic forms include Kilsson, Kjeldsen, Ketelsen, Kettelson, Kells, Kettles, Kettless. Kelling is a diminutive form of the variation Kell.

Keunemann is a Low German diminutive form of the German patronymic surname Konrad, derived from the elements kuoni = daring, brave + rad = counsel, an extremely popular name during the Middle Ages, and found as an hereditary name in several ruling families. Pronunciation is very close to Kinnamon, and other variants of Konrad exhibit an -I- sound. The German equivalent of the saying "every Tom, Dick, and Harry" was Hinz und Kunz which were shortened forms of the name Henry and Konrad. Other German diminutive forms are Kiendl, Kienl, Kienzle, Kienle, Kienlein, Kienle, Kaindl, Kainz, Kuhn, Kuhndel, Kunzelmann, Konzelmann, Kullmann , and Kiehne, among others.

Key : as you might expect, was the man who made keys, or occasionally -- the man in the largely ceremonial office of 'key-bearer.' Kay is another version of that English Occupational name.

Kidd : English Occupational/Nickname...Most surnames relating to animals had their origin in signs that were displayed at inns throughout the countryside. In early times, when travel from one location to another could not be completed in a day -- people took travellers into their homes -- many doing so as a business. Animals pictures were popular additions to the signs. Kidd came from the picture of the "little goat" at an English inn...in France, the counterpart was Chevrolet .

Kille is a variation of the Irish Patronymic name Killeen , which is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Cillin , a dimunitive form of Ceallach . Phew! -- a long way of saying descendant of Kelly . John Kyllyk is the first known bearer of the name. He was a vintner in London whose will was proven in court in 1439.</P>

Kimball and Kimble are English place names from the place so-named in Buckinghamshire that is taken from Old English elements that mean 'royal hill' and the man who emigrated from that town sometimes became known by the name of his former location.

The Old English origin of Kimbrough was cyne = royal + burh = fortress, stronghold. Cyneburh was an Old English female given name derived from those elements. The daughter of King Penda of Mercia, who lived in the 7th Century) bore the name, and was an early convert to Christianity, over her father's oppposition. She founded an abbey, and was venerated as a saint, which led to all kinds of youngsters being named for her. Kimber is another form of the name.

Kincaid : Scottish Place Name...Kincaid was derived from a place near Lennoxtown in Campsie Glen, north of Glascow. It was referenced in 1238 as Kincaith which means 'top pass.'

King is an English nickname, derived from Old English cyning, originally meaning tribal leader, but it evolved to modern vocabulary as king. The name was already in use before the Norman conquest, and was a common nickname for the man who carried himself like royalty, or to the man who had played the part of the king in a medieval pageant (several surnames were derived from medieval pageants -- must have been quite the attraction -- and the players must have been celebrities of sorts, as a result). Rarely, the name was given to the man who worked for royalty as a footman or servant. Among Ashkenazic Jews, it is an Anglicized version of Konig (umlaut over the -O-). Kinge is a variation of the English nickname.

Kingdon : It's an English (Devon) place name from High Kingdon in Alverdiscott, Devon. The name elements are from Old English cyning = king + dun = hill for a literal translation of 'king's hill.'

Kinkel is a variation of the German occupational name Gunkel, which described the maker or the spinner of spindles. It is derived from the German word Kunkel = spindle, distaff, from Middle High German kunkel < LL conicula, a diminutive form of conus = cone, peg. Other variations are Kunkel, Künkel, Künkler .

Kinney : Variant of the Scottish Patronymic name Kenney derived from the Gaelic given name Cionaodha , of unknown origin, but likely composed of the elements cion = respect + Aodh = pagan god of fire. Occasionally Kenney is derived as an Irish Patronymic name through the Anglicizing of O'Coinnigh -- 'descendant of Coinneach . Variations are McKinney, McKenney, McKenna, McKinna , and McKennan , among others.

Kinsey is an English patronymic name derived from the Old English personal name composed of the elements cyne = royal + sige = victory. Kincey, Kynsey, Kinzie are among the variations.

Kirkland : Scottish Place name; the man who took it as a surname lived on land adjacent to the church property, often the parish cemetery. The Scottish church is referred to as the Kirk.

Cline is an Anglicized spelling of the German, Dutch, and Jewish nickname Klein, which described the small man, from German and Dutch klein = small (Yiddish kleyn = small). Cline is generally found among those of Jewish ancestry along with Kleiner, Kleinerman, Kleinman, Klainer, Klain, Klainman, Kline, Kliner, Klyne, Clyne . German variations include Kleintert, Kleiner, Klaint, Kleinmann . Dutch variations are Kleine, Klene, Kleijn, Klijn, Kleyn, Klyn.

Kleinkauf is a Jewish ornamental surname comprised of the Middle High German elements kleine = small + kauff = seller, dealer. Although this has the sound of an occupational name (and it may well be), most of the Klein+suffix names were strictly ornamental and adopted when ordered to do so by the government.

Klink : Dutch Place name for the man who lived near the rushing mountain stream.

Knapp : As an English place name, Knapp was the man who lived at the top of the hill.

Knapik is a diminutive form of the Polish and Czechoslovakian occupational name Knap , which -- in German -- is translated to the name Knapp , from Middle High German knappe = boy, lad...a term used for a servant or squire. Knappe, Knabbe, Knabe are German variations. De Knaap is the Flemish/Dutch form.

Knight : English Status Name from the Old English cniht which referred to a boy or serving lad. During the Middle Ages, Knight was used as a given name before the Norman conquest, after which it became a term for a tenant farmer who defended his lord on horseback. As only those men of some stature owned horses, it became a term for a man of prominence, and later, was converted to an honorary title.

Knopf : is a German and Jewish occupational name for the maker of buttons, or the man who lived by a rounded hillock. In the second case, it's a Place name.

Knutson is found in Sweden and Norway and a patronymic name meaning "son of Knut" or "son of Canute" -- given names that meant "hill" or "white-haired."

Koche is the German occupational name for the cook, taken from the German word Koch = cook. Variations are Kocher, Kochmann .

Kolberg is likely an ornamental name of either Jewish or Swedish extraction. The element -berg means "hill" and is used in a number of ornamental names (names adopted for their pleasing sound, without connotation to the bearer). Kohl is a German word for cabbage, and the element Kol may be derived from this or a similar vocabulary word (usually words that were nature-oriented were selected, as in Lundberg (Swedish grove-hill).

Many surnames were Americanized when the recent arrivals wanted to blend in with their established neighbors, and Coons, Coonce , and others are examples of spelling that was less reflective of their origin. Konrad is a German given name composed of the elements kuoni = daring, brave + rad = counsel. It was extremely popular during the Middle Ages, and as a result led to a number of surnames and variations. Kunrad, Kuhnert, Kunert, Kundert, Kuhnhardt Kuhnt, Kundt, Kurth are variations. Cognates include Konert, Kohnert, Kohrt, Kordt, Kort (Low German); Koenraad (Dutch), Kunrad, Konrad (Czech); Kondrat (Polish); Corradi, Corrado, Cunradi, Cunrado (Italian). Diminutive forms include Kuhn, Kuhne, Kuhndel, Kiehnelt, Kaindl, Kainz, Kunz (from which Coon and Coonce were derived, among others), Kuntz, Kienzelmann, Kunze (German); Cohr, Keuneke, Keunemann, Keuntje, Kohneke, Konneke, Kunneke, Kohnemann , and others (Low German); Koene, Keune (Dutch); Kuna, Kunes, Kunc (Czech); Kondratenkko, Kondratyuk (Ukrainian). There are other versions of this name as well.

I don't have Kostmeyer listed in any of my sources, but it is a German compound name comprised of the elements kost/kostner = sacristy official + meyer = household head servant or officer. It may have designated the man who was the head of the household for the sacristy official, or depending on the family heritage, it may be one of the Jewish compound names that were taken as ornamental surnames when they became required.

Kragh is the Danish cognate for Crow . The nickname was used in numerous languages to describe a man that seemed to fit that monicker, for whatever reason. Krah, Krahe, Kroh, Krohe, Kräh, Krähe, Krehe, Krach, Kray, Kra are all German forms of the name. Krey, Krei are the ones used in the German lowlands. Craey is the Flemish version. Kraaij, Kraay are the Dutch forms. Krag, Kragh are found among the Danes. Crowe is the form found in Ireland, and Craw is an English variation. Crow comes from the Old English word crawa . When of known Irish origin, the name is sometimes a translation of any of the several Gaelic names that meant "raven" or "crow."

Kroeger : From the Middle Ages through colonial times - innkeepers and tavern owners were people of prominence in the community, and were the only place of refuge for travelers. More often than not, the host of the inn took that as a surname: Host and Hostler in England, in Germany it was Krueger, Krug , and Wurtz . The Dutch form was Kroeger .

Kruse/Krusekopf : German Nickname...Kruse is a Low(land)German version of the surname Kraus , which -- along with Kruskopf -- was given as a nickname for one with curly hair. Kraus means curly. Cruise , (as in Tom Cruise) on the other hand, is an English nickname from the Middle English crouse =bold, fierce.

Kusnerek is a Slavic diminutive variation of the German occupational name Kurschner (umlaut over the U) from the Middle High German word kursen = fur garment, which described the man who worked as a furrier. Kurssner, Kierschner, Korschner are variations. Kusnierz is a Polish cognate; Kushnir is found in the Ukraine, Kurshner is a Jewish form Anglicized from German, Kirschner, Kirsner, Kerschner, Kersner are other Jewish cognates.

Kyle : In early times, the man who lived by an important river was referred to by the name of the river. In England, the Kyle River was the "narrow" river. Kyle is an English Place name.

Kyser is a spelling variation of Keiser, which is a variation of Kaiser, the German nickname for the man who lived in a stately manner -- derived from German Kaiser = emperor, from the Latin title Ceasar. It may also have been a nickname for the man who played an emperor in the village pageant (many of the well-played parts stuck as nicknames, which became surnames). Kaiser is also found as a Jewish ornamental name. German variations include Keser, Keiser, Kayser, Keyser . Jewish forms include Kaiserman, Keiserman, Keiser, Keizer . There are also cognate forms in several languages.


Lacey is an English and Irish place name of Norman origin, derived from Lassy in Calvados, which got its name from a Gaulish given name Lascius + -acum (a local suffix). Lacey is most common in Nottinghamshire, but is found all over. Variations are Lacy, Lassey, De Lacey, De Lacy, Leacy (the last occasionally found in Ireland).

LaCroux is a Provencal variation of the surname Cross : English Place name for the man who lived near the stone cross set up by the roadside or marketplace, from Old Norse kross . Cognitives include De(la)Croix, Croix , (French); Croux, Lacroux, Lacrouts, De(la)croux (Provencal); Croce, DellaCroce, Croci (Italian); Cruz (Spanish); Kreutzer, Kreuziger (German); Vercruysse (Flemish), Krzyzaniak (Polish), and Van der Kruijs (Dutch).

Laird : is a Scottish name taken from the term used to describe the caretaker of land under which the peasant farmers rented land and sought protection during the height of the feudal period. The laird offered protection to the serfs who fought for him when attacked by neighboring lairds. They tended to raid each other often, for livestock, and as a relief for boredom.

You'd think that Lakey had something to do with a "lake" but that word as we understand it today was an addition to the English language from the French after surnames had already been fairly widely adopted. The Old English word lacu meant "stream" and the man who lived by the stream was often described as lacu, or Lake, Lack, Lakes, Lakeman . Diminutive or pet forms of names are often achieved by the addition of a -y or -ey , much the way Bobby is a pet form of Bob.

Lambert : English/French/German Place name from Old German land =land + berht = famous...literally, famous-land. Requested by Doug Strohl

Lambkin/Lumpkin/Lamkin : English Patronymic names derived from "Little Lamb" which was a pet form of the given name Lambert (land, bright).

Land is an English place name that described the man who lived in the country rather than in a town. The term had a more specialized sense in the Middle Ages, and was also applied to a forest glade from Middle English lande = heath. Occasionally, it described the man from Launde in Leicestershire, which was named from the same term. Lawn is a variation. Cognates include Landt, Land (German); Landh, Landell, Landelius, Landen, Landin (Swedish ornamental); Landberg, Landegren, Landquist, Landstrom (Swedish compound ornamental).

Lamond(e) is a variation of the Scottish and Northern Irish patronymic name Lamont , from the medieval given name Lagman , from Old Norse Logmaðr , with the elements log = law + maðr = mann/man. Lammond, Lamond, Lawman are variations. McLamont, McLamon, McClemment, McClements, McClymond, McClymont are patronymic forms.

Langdon : English Place Name...from settlements in Devon, Dorset, Essex, Kent, and Warwick in medieval times. It is derived from Old English lang + dun , which meant long hill.

Lange is a cognate of the English nickname for a tall person -- the name is Long among English speaking countries and Lange is found among the Dutch, Norwegians, and Germans. Lang, Lange , and Langer are the German versions, while DeLanghe is the Flemish, De Lang is Dutch and Lang and Lange are the Danish and Norwegian versions.

Langworthy : is an English Place name that is derived from two elements, - lang which meant 'long' and - worth which designated an enclosure or settlement. Langworthy was the man who hailed from the long settlement or enclosure. Requested by Lora Langworthy.

Laporte : French version of the place name Port which described someone who lived near the gateway to the town, or by a harbour.

Lapsley : is an English Patronymic name from the Old English given name, Hlappa + leah =woods, for a literal meaning of 'Hlappa's woods' or more specifically, 'Hlappa's clearing in the woods."

Larson/Larkin/Lawson,/Lorenzo: The name Lawrence was derived from 'laurel' - symbol of victory, and was popularized by St. Lawrence, a papel deacon who was martyed in the Middle Ages. McLaren is the Scottish form of the name, Larson, Larkin , and Lawson are among the English variations and Lorenz is a German form. Spanish speaking languages are among those that would have Lorenz and Lorenzo as a variants of Lawrence, which is a Patronymic name -- from the name of the father with that given name.

Law : is an English and Scottish Patronymic name from a Middle English pet form of the given name Lawrence; occasionally it is an English Place name for the name who lived by the hill, derived from Northern Middle English hlaw = hill or burial mound. Lawes and Lawson are traditional Patronymic versions of Law. Richard Law emigrated to America in 1638 and was one of the founders of Stamford, Connecticut.

Lawton : English Place name from settlements common in Lancashire and Yorkshire, from Buglawton or Church Lawton in Cheshire, which derived their names from Old English hlaw = hill, burial mound + tun = enclosure, settlement. The literal meaning would be "hill settlement" and someone from that place might be identified as Lawton.

Layland is a variation of the English surname Leyland, a place name derived from Middle English layland > Old English lægeland = fallow land, uncultivated. Most bearers of the name have origins in the location so-named in Lancashire.

Leach: is an English occupational name for the doctor, from the Old English word loece (the -o and -e are attached with a long-vowel mark above, something my keyboard cannot duplicate, but you know what I mean...) Originally, the animal was known by that term with reference to ‘healer’ rather than physicians being compared to a bloodsucker -- but times do change. Variations are Leche, Leetch, Leitch .

Lee/Lea : The surname Lea is derived from the Old English word leah , which meant 'clearing in the woods' and the ending -ley- is the second-most common among English surnames. Lee and Lea were also the names of many small towns that were in the valley or the 'clearing in the woods.'There are other versions as well, posted on request. Requested by Stuart Lea.

Lease is a variation of Lees, an English name that is derived from several sources, one of which is the same as Lee and Lea . In medieval times, the Old English word leah meant "wood" or "clearing" and the name Lee (or Lea) described the man who lived near a meadow, pasture, or patch of arable land. Leas/lees is the plural form of 'lee' which was the Middle English form of 'leah.' The man named Lees/Leas (and its variations) lived on or near the fields or pastures. Also, several settlements arose with the name Lee or Lees, and people who lived there were often described that way, when no other description was more appropriate. There is a Lees in Ashton-under-Lyne and a Leece in Barrow-in-Furness. Occasionally -- although somewhat rarely -- Lees is derived as an English Matronymic name. Names taken from the mother are pretty scarce, but in the case of Lees and Lease, some derived their name from the female given name Lece , a short form of Lettice . Finally, some with the name Lease or Lees are descended from Scots with the surname Gillies , where the first part of the name has been lost through aphesis, when a short beginning syllable is dropped through lazy pronunciation, as in squire, derived aphetically from esquire. Gillies is a Scottish Patronymic name from the Gaelic given name Gilla Iosa (servant of Jesus). Variations include Leese, Leece, Leish, Leishman, Leeson, Leason, Lesson , and Lisson .

Leith is a Scottish place name for the port near Edinburgh, which gets its name from the river nearby. The river name is from Gaelic lite = wet, similar to Welsh llaith = damp, moist. Of course, the man who ran the mill on that river was a Miller Lite (yuk yuk < Latin yukkius).

Leitherland is a variation of Litherland -- an English place name from a so-named district consisting of Uplitherland and Downlitherland, and derived from Old Norse hliðar < hlið = slope + land. Leatherland is another variation.

Leo is an Italian version of the English Nickname Lyon , given to the brave or fierce warrior, from the Old French lion , from Latin Leo/Leonis . Also it is taken from the given name Leo = lion, borne by numerous early martyrs and popes. English versions are Lion , and Leon , French are Lion, Leon ; Italian versions are Leoni, Leone, Lione, Liuni , and Lio . The Spanish version is Leon , Portugese is Leao . Patronymic forms are Delion, De Leone, Di Lione, De Lionibus, De Leo, Di Leo , and Leoneschi .

Leonard : Almost all given names that were around during Medieval times have continued through the ages as surnames. Leonard is one such name, the meaning of which is "lion, bold." Requested by Thomas Leonard.

Lippard is a variation of Leppard, an English name derived from Middle English and Old French lepard = leopard, from Late Latin leopardus ( leo = lion + pardus = panther). It was derived as a nickname for the stealthy and powerful man, and or as a place name indicating a home at the sign of the leopard. It is believed that the surname evolved from a single family in E. Sussex, England. Variations of the spelling are Liopard, Lepperd, Lippard . Cognate forms found in other countries (not blood-relations to the English versions) are Leopardo, Leopardi (Italian); Llopart (Catalan); Lebart, Lebert (Germany).

Leavenworth is an English place name as determined by the suffix -worth, from word = enclosure. It isn't listed among my sources -- surprisingly, but it would literally mean "Leaven's enclosure" although the actual name might have been Lefred, Leofroed, Lefric, Leofwaru, Leu, etc.

Leighton: an English place name for the man who emigrated from any of the so-named locations in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Shropshire, et.al., which were named from Old English leac = leek + tun = settlement, enclosure, and translated as "settlement at the place of the leeks." Although Laughton, Layton, Leyton were drawn from the same origin, those names are polygenetic and were drawn from other origins occasionally as well.

Leurman is a variant spelling of Lauerman, the German occupational name for the tanner, from Middle High German lowoere = a German reference to the substance extracted from tree bark used to tan leather + mann = man, occupational suffix.

Lewis is an English patronymic name from the given name Lowis, Lodowicus, and comprised of the elements hlod = fame + wig = war. The founder of the Frankish dynasty bore this name, and it was popular throughout France during the Middle Ages before being introduced into England by the conquoring Normans. When of Welsh extraction, it is an Anglicized form of Llywelyn. The Scots version is a local place name for the Hebridean island of Lewis, or as with the Irish, it is sometimes an Anglicized form of the Gaelic MacLughaidh , meaning "son of Lugaidh." Lugh was the Celtic god - 'Brightness.' Among the Jewish heritage, Lewis is a patronmymic form of Levi, or an Anglicized version of a similar Jewish name.

Lichtsinn : is a variant of the surname Licht , which is a German Occupational name for a chandler. It is derived from the German licht =light. Variations include Lichtner, Lichtmann , and Lichtzer , among others.

I don't have Lilegdon listed among my sources, but surnames with the suffix -don are generally derived from Old English dun = hill. I suspect it is an English place name from OE lilie = lily + dun = hill, and would have described a location where the man who first bore the name lived.

Lindsey is a spelling variation of Lindsay, an English and Scottish Place name from Lindsey in Lincolnshire, first found in the form Lindissi , a derivative of the British name Lincoln. The Old English element eg =island was added since the area was virtually cut off from the surrounding fenland. Lincey and Linsey are other variations.

Little is an English nickname given to the small man, or the younger of two men who bore the same given name, from Middle English littel > Old English lytel = little. Variations are Littell, Lyttle, Lytle, Littler . Among the Danish and Norwegians the name is Litle.

Littlefield : English Place Name...Field comes from the Old English word feld which meant pasture or meadow that was flat and uncultivated. Littlefield is a place name given to one who lived near the small uncultivated meadow -- the 'little-field.' Requested by Alan Littlefield

Lytton is a spelling variation of the English place name Litton, which described the man whose original home was in one of the several so-named settlements in Medieval England, which were named from Old English hlyde = torrent + tun = enclosure, settlement, and believed to describe a settlement near a loud or roaring stream.

Livesey is an English place name from the so-named location in Lancashire, derived from Old Norse hlif = protection, shelter + Old English eg = island. Livesay, Livsey , and Livesley are variations.

Lloyd is a Welsh nickname for the man with grey hair, or the man who was always seen wearing grey clothing. It comes from the Welsh word llwyd = grey. Variations are Loyd, Floyde, Floyd, Floyed. Bloyd, Blood , and Blud are patronymic versions of the name formed from the Welsh patronymic prefix "Ap" which meant "son of." When "Ap Lloyd" (son of Lloyd) was said quickly, the p-l often became indistinguishable from b-l. When the Ap portion was dropped many mistakenly retained the B sound to produce names such as Bloyed, Bloyd.

Logan : Scottish Place name and colonial frontier family, including General Benjamin Logan who founded Logan's Station (Stanford, KY). The name originated in the Scottish Lowlands, and designated the man who lived near the 'little hollow.'

Logerstedt is likely a spelling variation or Americanized spelling of Lagerstedt, a Swedish compound ornamental name derived from words describing natural phenomena that were used when surnames were adopted there in the late 1800's and early 1900's. (They were late bloomers, surname-wise!) Lagerstedt is a combination of lager and stedt, meaning literally "laurel homestead." Other Lager names along the same line (the first element lager = laurel) Lagerbach (stream), Lagerberg (hill), Lagerborg (town), Lagerkrantz (wreath), Lagerdahl (valley), Lagerfeldt (field), Lagerfors (waterfall), Lagergrehn (branch), Lagerquist (twig), Lagerlof (leaf), Lagerstrandt (shore), and Lagerstrom (river).

Long : English Descriptive name. During early times when surnames were being adopted, the man they called Long was especially tall and lanky.

Loomes is a variation of the English place name Lumb , from any of the several so-named lcoations in Lancashire and W. Yorkshire, named from Old English lumm = pool > dialectic lum = well for water in a mine. Lum, Loom, Limb, Loombe, Lombe, Loomes are all variations.

Lopez is a patronymic form of the Spanish surname Lope, which was also a medieval given name, likely from Latin lupus = wolf. Llop is the way the name is found in Catalan, and in Portugal the patronymic form is Lopes.

Lovell is an English diminutive variant of the name Low, when it meant a crafty or dangerous person, a Nickname derived from the Anglo-Norman French lou = wolf + - el , a diminutive suffix. Lovel and Lowell are variations.

The surname Loving comes from Louvain, a place in Belgium that came from a French word meaning 'lions."

Lowery is a variation of Lowry, the English and Scottish patronymic surname, which is a deminutive form of the name Lawrence (man from Laurentum). When of Irish heritage, Lowry is derived as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O Labhradha , "descendant of Labhradha," whose name meant 'spokesman.' Other variations are Lowrey, Lowerie, Lorrie, Lorie, Loury, Lory, Lourie ; Irish variations include O'Lowry, O'Lawry . Patronymic forms are Lowries, Lowrieson, Lorrison, Lorriman .

Lukacsko is a cognate form of the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Flemish/Dutch patronymic name Lucas, from Greek Loucas = man from Lucania (an area of Southern Italy). Luke, Luck are English versions. Look, Lock (Scotland); Lugg (Devon); Luc (French); Lukas (Flemish/Dutch).

Lund comes from the Old Norse term lundr = grove, and is an English, Swedish, and Danish Norwegian place name for a person who lived in a grove. It is also among the most popular of names adopted by the Swedes when they were compelled to take last names in the 19th century. It is also used in combination with other Swedish nature words, to form compound names such as Lundquist and Lundgren. Variations are Lunt, Lunn (English); Lundh, Lundell, Lunden, Lundin, Lundman (Swedish).

Lumby is an English place name that described the man from the so-named location between Leeds and Selby, the name derived from Old Norse lundr = grove, wood + byr = farm, settlement.

Lundquist : Swedish Acquired Name...Adopted when surnames became required; the Swedes acquiring surnames much later. Acquired names were chosen for a pleasing sound; Lundquist is literally "grove twig." Swedish immigrants to American often added Lund or qvist/quist to surnames because it gave the appearance of increased social status. Lundquist is simply a surname prefix with a suffix attached.

Lux : may be the shortened form of Luxton, a place in Devon, England. The ending -ton came from Old English tun = settlement and Luke's town was eventually known as Luxton .

Lydon is a variation of the Irish patronymic name Leyden, which is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name O'Loideain , which means 'descendant of Loidean ,' which is a given name of unknown origin. Another variation is Leydon.

Lynch is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic O' Loingsigh , meaning "descendant of Loingseach" which was originally a nickname meaning "mariner." It is also derived from the Gaelic Linseach , which was a Gaelic form of the Anglo-Norman-French de Lench , a local name of Norman origin. When derived of English origin, Lynch is a place name for the man who lived on a slope or hillside, from Old English hlinc = ridge, bank, rising ground. O'Lynchy, O'Lynche, O"lensie, Linchey, Linchy , are Irish variations. Linch, Lince, Linck are variations of de Lench. Diminutive forms are O'Lyneseghane, Lynchahan, Lynchehan, O'Loingseachain .


Mack is a Scottish patronymic name from an Old Norse given name Makkr , which was a form of Magnus . Occasionally, in the US, the name Mack is an shortened form of any of the many Scottish names that began with the patronymic designator Mc, or Mac. Maccus is a variation.

Mach is a Czech, German and Polish patronymic name, from the given name Mach, a pet form of the Czech name Matej, or the Polish name Maciej. Macha, Machac, Machala, Machal, Machan, Machon are Czech variations. Machala, Machnicki, Machocki are Polish variants. Mache, Macha are among the other forms found in Germany.

MacAulay is a spelling variant of McAulay, a Scottish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Amhalghaidh , meaning son of Amhalghadh. McAullay, McAuley, McAllay, McAlley, McCaulay, McCauley, McCally, Cawley , and Gawley are among the other variations.

MacLeod is a Scottish patronymic name that is an Anglicicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Leoid , from the Old Norse nickname Ljotr = ugly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. McCloud is another form of the name. From a MacLeod kinsman: *I see from your page that you correctly have the derivation of "MacLeod" as from "Ljotr" meaning "ugly", but you don't note that the original meaning of "ugly" (in the same time period as when ljotr was in current use as a name) meant not "unpleasing in appearance" but meant "fierce"

Madden and O’Madden are both Irish patronymic names, Anglicized from the Gaelic O Madaidhin , which meant ‘descendant of Madaidhin’ whose name was derived from madadh = hound, mastiff. Variations are Madine, O’Madden, O’Maddane, O’Madagane, O’Madigane, Maddigan , and Madigan.

Madera is a Czech cognate of the Hungarian name Magyar, which means literally "Hungarian." The Magyars originally came from the Ural Mountain area but occupied the Caucasus between the fifth and ninth centuries. Bulgarian expansionism forced them to move westward and were settled in their current location by the end of the ninth century.

Madura is the Polish nickname for the wise or learned man, one of the nicknames that actually had a positive connotation.

Maffin is likely an Americanized version of the Italian surname Maffini, which is a diminutive form of the Italian name Maffii, the cognate form of the English and Scottish name Matthew, which was derived originally from the Hebrew Matityahu = gift of God. Other Italian cognates are Mattea, Mattia, Matteo, Mattei, Mattedi, Mattevi, Maffeo, Maffei, Maffia.

Maheu is a French cognate of the English patronymic name, Mayhew, which was derived from the given name Mahieu, a variation of Matthew. Other French versions are Mahieux, Mahieu, Maheu, Mahu, Maheo, Mehu (Normandy), while English variations are Mahew, Mehew, Mayo , and Mayow.

Maier, Meyer, Meier , and Myer : were the principal officers in charge of large and important households in Germany, and often, an -s- was added as in Meyers and Myers . Later the term came to designate a sustantial farmer. Requested by Marilyn Meyer Roberts.

Malone : is an Irish Patronymic name from the given name Malone (servant of St. John).

Manke : Nicknames or descriptions of people often stuck as surnames, and many were none-too-politically-correct. Manke was what they called the man who was lame or crippled, and some wound up with it as a surname.

Maitland : was a lot like England: Mait and Eng being terms for a grassy field. Eng-land became the name of the realm, and Mait-land became the name of the family that made their home in Eng-land. It's an English Place name.

O'Mara is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic O'Meadhra , which meant "descendant of Meadhra ." That name came from Gaelic meadhar = mirth, joy. Variations are Meara, O'Meara , and as an aphetic form Mara . An Americanized O'Mara isn't to be confused with Mára , a variation of the Czech name Marek, from the given name Marek , which was the Czech form of Mark. Mares, Mára are variations. Marecek, Marsik, Marik are diminutive forms.

Markham is an English place name from the so-named place in Nottinghamshire derived from Old English mearc = boundary + hám = homestead. Occasionally, it is derived among the Irish as an Anglicized form of Ó Marcacháin , which means "descendant of Marcach " whose name meant "knight, horseman."

The name Markowski and many other versions are derived from the Latin Marcus , the given name of Mark the Evangelist, who authored the second Gospel. The etymology of Marcus is unknown, but it may come from the word Mars. It is an old and popular given name which constituted the origin of many surnames. Markowski is a Jewish version of the name, along with Markewitz, Markovski, Markovitz , and numerous others.

Mally is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from O' Maille , meaning 'descendant of the nobleman' from mal = prince, champion. Variations include Malley, Mealley, Meally, Melly, Melia, O'Malley, O'Mally, O'Maillie , and others.

Marsh is an English place name for the man who lived near or on a marsh or fen, and is derived from Old English mersc = marsh. During the period when surnames were adopted, -er was pronounced as -ar, and most surnames of the time retained the ancient pronunciation. Through later academic study of entymology, the correct pronunciation of -er was returned to the language and taught as vocabulary.

Marshall : originally cared for the lord's horses, and acted as an early vet and farrier. Later on, the term evolved to describe an official in a noble's household in charge of the military affairs. It's an English Occupational name, either way.

Marte is an Italian cognate form of the French and German matronymic name (from the name of the mother) Marthe , which is listed in the Greek New Testament as Martha, from Aramaic Marta = Lady, the sister of Lazarus. Other variations are Morthe, Merta . Other cognates are Marte, Marti, Marta . Diminutive forms include Marton, Marthon, Martot, Marthelot .

Marti, Marty are cognate forms of the name Martin found in Provencal. Martin is found as an English, French, Scottish, Irish, German, Czech, Flemish, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian Patronymic surname -- derived from the ancient Latin given name Martinus, derived from Mars/Martis , the Roman god of fertility and war. A fourth-century saint had the name, and those early saints made for a lot of namesakes. Variations are Marten, Martyn, Martine, Lamartine, Martijn among others.

Martinez : Spanish Patronymic Name...St. Martin of Tours was the patron saint of France and made Martin the most common name in that country. As a saint (with a good festival, to boot) Martin was also popular around the world. In Spanish speaking countries, descendants of Martin were called Martinez.

Masters: a patronymic form of the English and Scottish nickname Master, which described the man who behaved in a masterful way, or as an occupational name for the master of a craft. It is derived from Middle English maister > Latin magister. The name was borne in early times by people who were freeholders of enough land that they had laborers who helped them work the land. In Scotland, the eldest sons of Barons held this title, and the name may have been an acquired nickname for the servant of the eldest son of a baron. Meystre is a variant. There are numerous cognates in several languages in addition to patronymic and diminutive forms.

Matney is likely an English place name composed of the elements Matt/Matta (a medieval given name derived from Matthew) + Old English eg = island, raised land in a fen. It would describe the man who lived near Matta's homestead location.

Matthews/Mathis : English Patronymic Name...Matthew means 'gift of Yahweh' as does Matthias -- both were popular first names in early times, and it is almost impossible to determine which derivatives came from which name...at any rate, Matthews and Mathews are English Patronymic names (from the father) and Mathis is the German counterpart. Matthews with the double-t was more popular in Wales. Matusek is a spelling variation of Matousek , a diminutive Czechoslovakian form of Matous = Matthew. It's the equivalent of "Little Matthew."

Mattingly : is an English Place name from an Old English personal name Matting + leah (clearing in the woods) which is literally, Matting's clearing in the woods. Requested by Karen Mattingly.

Maurer is a German occupational name for the builder of defensive walls, or the builder of walls of substantial buildings of brick or stone. It is derived from German mauer = wall. During the Middle Ages, the majority of walls were made of wood or lathe and plaster, so the maurer generally built public buildings and defensive walls. Meurer, Mauer, Mauermann are variations. Mührer, Mührmann are Low German cognate forms; Mularski is the Polish version, and Mulyar is found in the Ukraine.

Mayfield is an English place name from the so-named locale in Sussex which derived its name from Old English mœgðe = mayweed + feld = pasture, open country. The man from that location was described by his new neighbors by their pointing out his place of origin. The surname is also common in Nottinghamshire, and an addition location with the name Mayfield may have been located there.

Mayor, see also: Meyer/Meier : English Occupational Name...The head of a village or town was the mayor, often a position held for life. Henry Fitz Ailwin was the first mayor of London in 1193. Requested by: Bob Meyer

McAllister is a Scottish and Irish patronymic form of the surname Alexander, from the popular given name from Greek Alexandros = defender of men. Other forms of McAllister are McAlester, McAllester, McAlister, McAllaster, McCallister, Mac Alastair .

McArdle/McArdell/McCardle : Scottish/English Patronymic Name...McArdle is an Anglicized version of gaelic Mac Ardghail which came from the given name Ardghal . That name is composed of ard = height + gal = valor, for high valor. Variations are McArdell and McCardle . Requested by Tim McArdle

McCabe is a Scottish and Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Caba , from the name Caba = cape, which described the wearer of a distinctive cape.

McCann : Scottish Patronymic name for the 'son of Annadh' whose name means 'storm.'

McCarthy is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Carthaigh , meaning 'son of Carthach' whose name meant 'loving.' Mccarty, McCartie, McCarhie, McCarha, and McArthy are variations.

McCleaft : Possibly derived from MacCleish , which is Anglicized from Mac Gill'losa which meant `son of the servant of Jesus," and is documented in Dumfrieshire as early as 1376. Requested by Kenneth McCleaft

McClourghity : is an old Irish name, of which most have been Anglicized to one degree or another -- with McClourghity not quite as much as McCafferty , which is another version of Mac Eachmhareaigh , a patronymic surname from the given name Eachmharcach . If it wasn't Anglicized that way then his namesake son would have to sign his check: Eachmharcach Mac Eachmhareaigh , taking up so much space he could only write them for small amounts! Just kidding...

McClure is a Scottish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Gille Uidhir , which means 'son of the servant of St. Odhar.' Variations are McCloor, McLure, McLeur, McAlear, McAleer .

McCluskey is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic ' Mac Bhloscaidhe ' which meant 'son of Bloscadh.' The name probably derived from the Gaelic term blosc = loud noise. Variations are McClusky, McCloskey, McClosky, McCluskie, McLusky , and McLuskie.

McCollough is a variation of the Irish and Scottish name McCulloch, which is an Anglicized form of a Gaelic patronymic name Cullach, from cullach = wild boar. Some families translated the name as Boar rather than Culloch or McCulloch. There is also speculation that the name might be derived from Cu-Uladh , meaning 'Hound of Ulster.' Variations of the name are McCullach, McCullagh, McCully, McCullie , and McCoulie. Thomas Maculagh of Wigtonshire, noted in the year 1296 is the first known bearer of the name in Scotland.

McCallum is a Scottish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Coluim , which is a patronymic form of the name Columba. It is more frequently seen as McCollum , but also exists as variations McAllum, McCollam .

McConville is an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from Gaelic Mac Conmhaoil , a patronymic form of the given name Conmhaol, comprised of the elements cu = hound + maol = bald. McConwell, and Conwell are variations.

McConnell is a Scottish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Dhomhnuill , which meant "son of Domhnall" whose name came from Celtic elements dubno = world + val = might, rule. When the name is of known Irish origin, it is taken from the Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Conaill , meaning "son of Conall" whose name was taken from Celtic elements con, cu = hound + gal = valor. Variations include MacConnel, McConnal . Whannell and McWhannell are Scottish variations.

McCormick is the patronymic form of the Scottish surname Cormack, an Anglicized form of the given name Cormac, from the elements corb = raven + mac = son. Cormick is a variant and Cormican is a diminutive form. McCormack, McCormick , and the Gaelic Mac Cormaic are patronymic forms; literally "son of raven's son."

McCracken : Irish Patronymic Name...An Irish sept or clan was a group of people living in the same area with the same surname, and most Irish names used the Mac or O' prefix, as well as the Norman inspired Fitz'. Most of the names were taken from the father's name (patronymic) although many dropped the prefix and most were Anglicized in America. Many Fitz prefixes were replaced with Mac. McCracken was the son of Neachtan , which meant 'pure one.'

McCrary is an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Ruidhri , from the given name Ruaiddhri. Other versions are McCreery, McCreary, McCririe .

McDonald and McDonell are variations of the same surname, both Scottish Patronymic names derived from the Gaelic -- Mac Dhamhnuill , which means 'son of Domhnall ,' a given name from the Gaelic elements dubno =world + val =rule. Other variations are McDonnell, McDonaill, McDonall , and McDaniel .

My guess on MacEachern is a slightly Anglicized version of Mac Eachain , a Scottish Patronymic name from the Gaelic given name Eachan , which means 'each horse.'

McElreavy is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Giolla Riabhaich , which means "son of the brindled lad" and is an Irish patronymic name. McIlwraith is the most commonly found Anglicized version, while other variations include McIlravy, McIlrea, McElwreath, McElreath, McElreavy, McAreavey, McArevey, McGillereogh, McGilrae, Gallery, McCalreogh, McCalreaghe, McCallerie, Colreavy, Culreavy, Callery, Killery . You may be interested to know the name McIlwraith is also found among the Scots as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Gille Riabhaich , with variants McIlwrath, McIlaraith, McIlarith, McIlleriach, McIlreach, McIlurick, McIllrick, McGillreich , among others.

McGary is a variation of McGarry, which is a variant of the Irish name McAree. That name is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name Mac Fhearadhaigh , from the nickname Fhearadhach = manly, brave. Other variations are McHarry, Mahorry, McKarrye, McKerry, McKeary, Mcgarry, Megarry, McFaree, McFarry, McVarry , and McVerry.

McGilvray is a Scottish and/or Irish Patronymic name: It originates in both areas, from similar Gaelic forms. In Ireland, the Irish Gaelic version was Mac Giolla Bhraith , and the Scottish form was Mac Gille Bhrath . They both stem from a given name that means "Servant of Judgement," and Mac meaning "son of..." in the typical Gaelic fashion. The Anglicized version of the name most commonly found is McGillivray, and these other variations exist: McGillvray, McGilvray, McGilvra, McGillavery, McGillivry, McGillivrie, McGillvary, McGilvary, McGilvery .

McGinnis McEnnesse McEnnis McInnes Maguinness Magennis Guinness : Irish Patronymic Name...the Mc designates 'son of' and a literal meaning of "Son of Guinness" which is Anglicized. The Irish version was from the Gaelic Mag Aonghuis and the given name Aonghuis is anglicized to Angus. Requested by: Kathryn McGuinness

Mc Gonigle is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Congail , a patronymic form of the name Congal . The given name Congal is comprised of Old Celtic elements that mean "high, valour," and Mac Congal is literally translated as "Son of Congal." The name is most often found as McGonigle , but McGonagle is a common variation.

McGowan is a Scottish and Irish Patronymic name from the Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gobhann (Scottish) and Mac Gabhann (Irish) both from occupational nicknames for the village smith. It is also occasionally derived in Scotland from Mac Owein , a patronymic form of the given name Owen or Ewen. Variations include McGowing, McGowen, McGoune, Magowan, McAgown, McEgown, McIroine , and Gowans .

McGrath is the normal Irish form of the name McCrae, which is a Scottish and Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mag Raith , from the name Rath (grace, prosperity). Variations are McCray, McCrea, McCree, McCrie, McCraw, McCreagh, McCreath, McCraith, McCreith, McCreight, McGraw, McGra, McRay, McRea, McRee, McRie, McRaw, McRaith, McReath, McWray, Magraw, Magraph, Magrath, Megrath, Mackereth .

McGuigan is a fine Irish name, and is actually an Anglicized form of the name Mac Guagain , which is in itself an altered form of Mag Eochagain -- a patronymic form (from the father's name) of the old Gaelic name Eochagan , from eachadhe = horseman. Geoghegan is another name that evolved from this given name. Variations of McGuigan (which is literally translated as "son of the horseman") are McGougan, McGugan, McGuckian, McGuckin, McWiggan .

McGrogan is a rare Anglicized form of the Irish patronymic name Mac Gruagain , that is normally found as Grogan, from O' Gruagain (descendant of Gruagan, whose name was a diminutive form of the word gruag = hair).

McGuire is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mag Uidhir , which meant "son of Odhar" whose name meant 'sallow.' St. Odhar was the charioteer of St. Patrick. Variations are McGwire, McGwir, McGuiver, McGuier, Maguire , and Maguier.

McIlwraith is a Scottish and Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from a Gaelic name -- McIlwraith is the most commonly found Anglicized version, while other variations include McIlravy, McIlrea, McElwreath, McElreath, McElrath, McElreavy, McAreavey, McArevey, McGillereogh, McGilrae, Gallery, McCalreogh, McCalreaghe, McCallerie, Colreavy, Culreavy, Callery, Killery . You may be interested to know the name McIlwraith is also found among the Scots as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Gille Riabhaich , with variants McIlwrath, McIlaraith, McIlarith, McIlleriach, McIlreach, McIlurick, McIllrick, McGillreich , among others.

McInch, McKinch , and McHinch, are among the similar Anglicized variations of the Gaelic name Mag Aonghuis , meaning "descendant of Aonghus" whose name was comprised of the Gaelic elements aon = one + ghus = choice. An 8th century Pictish king bore the name and he was popularly portrayed as being the son of Daghda, the chief god of the Irish, and Boann who have her name to the River Boyne. Angus was a county named for the king, and is still a popular name among Scots -- the early occurrences in honor of Mag Aonghuis . McGuinness is the most commonly found form of this Irish name, with variations McGinnis, McEnnesse, McEnnis, McInnes, Maguinness, Maginness, Maginnis, Magennis, Meginniss , and Guiness, Guinness .

McIntosh : is derived from MacIntosh, a Scottish occupational and patronymic name that means 'son of the chief or leader.'

McKaig (and the several spelling variations) is an Anglicized form of Mac Thaidhg , a Gaelic name found in Scotland and Ireland which means "son of Tadhg." Tadhg is an ancient given name that meant "Poet, Philosopher" in Gaelic. McCaig is the version most commonly found. Variations include McKaig, McKaigue, McKag, McKaig, McKague, McKage, McKeige, McKeag, McKeague, Keag, Keague, McHaig, McHeigh, Heague, McAig, Keig, Kegg. The surname (in all its spelling variations) is a Sept of Clan Farquharson .

McKeever : is a variation of McIver which is a Scottish version of an Old Norse given name Ivarr derived from iw = bow + herr = army. The name was adopted at an early date by the Scots, Welsh, and Irish, and most cases indicate Celtic ancestry. Other variations include MacIvor, McIver, McEevor, McEever, McHeever , and McCure . Iverson is the Danish and Norwegian version, while the Swedes opted for Ivarsson and Iwarsson .

McKie is a variation of the Scots and Irish patronymic name McKay, which itself is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name Mac Aodha , from the personal name Aodh = Fire, which was originally from the pagan god of fire. Other variations are McKoy, McKey, McKee, McKie, McCay, McCoy, McGhee, McGhie, McHugh, McCue, McEa, McAy, Magee, Quay, Quaye , and Key. The McCoys were half of a legendary feud (with the Hatfields) and the "Real McCoy" was Norman Selby, who was a boxer in the late 1800's under the name 'Kid McCoy' and promoted himself as the genuine article as opposed to one of his contemporaries -- a boxer also named McCoy.

McKinley : derived from the given name Finlay a Gaelic tribal leader, whose name came from the given name, Fionnla 'fair hero.'

McLean : Scottish Patronymic from MacLean, 'son of the servant of St. John.'

McLaughlin is a Scottish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Lachlainn , a patronymic form of the given name Lachlann which was a Gaelic term for "stranger" and was applied to the Vikings who had settled nearby. It is most often found as McLachlan , but other variations include McLachlane, McLaughlane, McLauchlan, McLaughlin, McLaughlan, McLaughlane, McLaughlin, McLochlin, McLoughlin, McLoghlin, McGloughlin , and Chaplin (Manx form).

McLucas is a Scottish patronymic form of the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Flemish/Dutch patronymic name Lucas, derived from the given name Lucas, which has its origins in the Greek Loucas, meaning 'man from Loucania.' Loucania was a region of Southern Italy. Variations of Lucas include Luke, Luck, Look, Lock, Lugg, Luc (French), and Lukas (Flemish/Dutch). Cognate forms include Luca, Lucchi, Lucco (Italian); Lluch (Catalan); Lucks, Laux, Lux, Lauks (Low German); Liksch, Lukesch (Low German - Slav origin); Lukáš, Lukeš, Káš (Czech); Lukasz, Lukos, Luczak (Polish); Lukash (Ukranian); Lukacs (Hungarian). Diminutive forms include Luckett, Lockett, Locket, Lockitt, Lockie, Lockey, Lucazeau, Luqueet, Lucot, Lugol, Lucchelli, Luchelli, Lucchetti, Luchetti, Luchini, Lucchini, Lucotti, Lauxmann, Lukascheck, Kaschke, Luasek, Kasek, Kasik, Lukasik, Lulka, Lukashenko, Lukashenya . Patronymic forms include Luckes, Looks, Loukes (English); McLucas, McLuguish, McLugush, McLugish, Mac Lucais (Scottish); De Luca, Di Lucca (Italian); Lukasen, Luxen (Low German); Lucassen (Dutch); Lukinov (Russian); Lukashevich (Ukrainian); Lukaszewicz (Polish); Lukanov (Bulgarian).

McManus is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Maghnuis , a patronymic form of the given name Magnus. Variations include McMannas, McMannes, Mayne, Maynes .

McMath is the name for the Scottish number-cruncher -- just kidding! It's an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Mathghamhna , from the given name Mathghamhain = bear. McMathghamhana, McMaghowney, McMahouna, McMann, McKaghone, McMaghon, McMachan, McMaghone, McMahon are all versions of this name.

McMeeken is of itself altered from its origins -- the Gaelic name Mac Miadhachain , a patronymic form of the given name Miadhachan = honorable. McMeeking, McMikin, McMicking, McMeekan, McMeickan, McMickan, McMeckan, McMeeken, McMiken, McMeechan, McMeecham, McMichan , and McMhychen are all variations.

MacMullen is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Maolain , which means "son of Maolan." The name Maolan was a diminutive form of the Gaelic word maol, which meant "bald" but in most cases regarding the surname referred to "tonsured" as in, "one who wore a tonsure." It is considered an Ecclesiastical Highland clan. The more common Anglicized form of the name is McMillan, but it is also found as McMillen, McMullan, McMullen, McMullin, McMullon, McMowlane, McMoylan . (All of the Mc names began as Mac, the Gaelic term for "son of")

McMahon is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Mathghamhna , meaning 'son of Mathghamhain ' whose name meant 'bear.' Mcmachon, McMachan, McMaghone, McMaghen, McKaghone,McMann, MacMahouna are among the variations.

McMonagle is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic Mac Maonghail , from the given name Maonghal, which is comprised of the elements maoin = wealth + gal = valour. Listed variants are McMunagle, McMenigall .

McMullen is a variation of the Scottish name McMillan, which is an Anglicized version of the patronymic name Mac Maolain , from the given name Maolan, from mao = bald, tonsured. It generally described someone who wore a tonsure and in a transferred sense, to the devotee of a certain saint. Variations are McMillen, McMullan, McMullen, McMullin, McMullon, McMowlane, McMoylan .

McMurtry : possibly Irish Patronymic names, from Anglicized versions of the Gaelic given name Muircheartach , derived from muir = sea + ceardach = skilled, to mean 'skilled navigator of the sea.' The Patronymic forms are McMoriertagh, McMurihertie, McMiritee, McMreaty , and McMearty .

McNutt is an Ulster (Northern Ireland, settled by the Scots in 1610) variation of the Scottish patronymic name McNaughton , which is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Neachdainn , which means "son of Neachdan" whose name is of unknown origin. Other variations are McNaughtan, McNaughten, McNauchton, McNauchtan, McNauton, McNachtan, McNaghten, McNaught, McNeight, McKnight, McNitt .

McNeice (not spelled like niece) is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic patronymic name Mac Naois , a shortened form of Mac Aonghuis , which means 'son of Angus.' Variations are McNeese, McNess, McNisse, McNeish, Mannish, Mannix, Minnish, Minch, McCreesh, Neison , and Neeson.

McNeilly : Scottish Patronymic name from the 'son of Neil' whose name means 'champion.'

McNeilly and McNeill -- although they seem almost identical -- aren’t. McNeilly is an Anglicized Gaelic name, while McNeill is standard patronymics from the given name Neil, although that name is of Gaelic origin (Niall = champion). It is a name common among the English, Scots and Irish. The Norsemen adopted the name as Njall, and Scandinavian settlers brought the name from Ireland to England. The double -L spelling is generally Northern Ireland and Scotland derived. Variations are Neild, Neal, Neele, Neeld, Nel, Niall, Niell, Niel, Nihell, Neels, Niles, Nielson, Nielson, McNeil, McNeille, McNeall, O’Neil, O’Neill, O’Neal , and many others.

McNicol is a Scottish variation of the surname Nicholas, found mainly among the English and Welsh, derived from the Greek given name Nikolaos, from nikan = to conquer + laos = people. It was a popular given name throughout Christian Europe during the Middle Ages. The 4th century bishop Nicholas was venerated by both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and was the subject of many legends (remember Santa ? Klaus is an aphetic shortened form of Nicholas...). Variations of Nicholas are, Nicolas, Niclas, Nickless, Nicholl, Nichol, Nicoll, Nickol, Nicol, Nickel, Nickell, Nickle . Cognates include Nicolas, Nicolau, Niclausse (French); Nicol, Nicoud, Nicoux (Provencal); Niccola, Niccoli, Nicolli (Italy); Niccolai (Tuscany); Nicolás (Spanish); Nicolau (Catalan, Portugal); Nicolaie (Rumania); Nickolaus, Niklaus, Nicklaus, Nicklas, Nücklaus (German); Mikulas, Mikula, Mikulanda (Czech); Mikula, Mikulski (Polish). Other patronymic forms are Nicholls, Nichols, Nicolls, Niccols, Nicholes, Nickoles, Nicholds, Nickolds, Nickalls, Nickells, Nickels, Nicholson, Nickleson (English); McNicholas, McNicol, McNichol, McNicoll, McNickle (Scottish); De Nicola (Italian); Nicolescu Niculescu (Rumanian); Nicolassen, Nicklassen, Nickelsen (German). As a result of the variations, in Rumania the Christmas carole is sung --- Up on the rooftop, whoo, whoo, whoo! Down through the chimney with Nicolescu! (That part isn't true.)

McPherson is an Anglicized version of the Scottish Gaelic name Mac an Phearsain , which means "son of the parson." McPerson is a variation

McQuaig, McQuade, MacQuaid, McQuoide : Scottish/Irish Patronymic Name... The Gaelic given name Wat (pronounced wait, and the same as Walter). The name Walter was brought by the Normans and derived from Wald , meaning rule, and theri , meaning army. Mac Uaid was the son of Wat (Walter). The Anglicized version took many forms, some of which dropped the Mac, and many of which arranged the vowels in combination. Many Gaelic consonants were used interchangeably.

MacQueen and McQueen are the same name, as "mac" is the Gaelic term for "son of" and abbreviations such as M' and Mc are simply shortened forms. McQueen is an Angliziced form of the Gaelic name Mac Shuibhne , a Scottish patronymic name that means "son of Suibhne" whose name meant "pleasant." After "the forty-five" the English tried to end the Highland clan system, and outlawed the use of Mac and tartans, although many just resurfaced later, when the troubles were past. Many Scot names were originally Mac-something, but were altered by dropping or shortening the Mac, leaving names such as Queen and Quaite (see above).

McShan is likely an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name Mac Seain , which meant 'son of Sean' a form of the name John. Shane is a popular Anglicization of Mac Seain , but it also appears as McShane.

McVie is another variation of the Scottish Patronymic name McBeth , from the Gaelic personal name Mac Beatha which meant 'son of life,' that is - man of religion. Other versions are McBeath, McBeith, McBay, McVay, McVey, McVeagh, McVie, McAbee .

Meacham : English occupational name from Machin, derived from Anglo-Norman French machun , which designated the stone mason.

Mearns is a Scottish place name from the place so-named in the former county of Renfrewshire, derived from Gaelic maiorne = office or province of the Mair (officer of the court). The man from there often derived that name as a way for neighbors to describe him after he moved to a new location.

Meeking is a diminutive form of the name May, which is a pet form of the given name Matthew, with Makin generally found in Northern England. Meeking is a patronymic form of the name, as are Makins, Maykings, Meakings, Meakin and Makinson. Variations of Makin are Maykin, Meakin, Meaken , and Making.

Mefford is likely an English place name derived from the Old English description for the crossing point of a stream of water, and may be from OE maed = meadow + ford = ford, crossing. The man who lived near the crossing place often became known by the name given the ford.

Mellanby is an English place name for the man who originally came from a settlement by that name (actually it was called Melmerby in Cumberlandshire and N. Yorkshire). It is derived from the Old Norse name Melmore, by way of Irish Mael-Muire (devotee of the Virgin Mary) and added to the Old Norse term byr = farm, settlement.

Mellow is the American nickname for the laid-back person (just kidding...) Actually, Mellow is a variation of the English place name Mellor, from the so-named locales in Lancashire, Derbyshire, and others, derived from ancient Briton words that evolved as Welsh moel = bare + bre = hill. Mellors, Mellows are other variations.

Menard is a variation of the French and English (Norman) patronymic name Maynard, derived from the Germanic given name Mainard and composed of the elements magin = strength + hard = hardy, brave. Mainerd is an English variation. Meynard, Menard, Mesnard are French versions. Mainardi, Meinardi, Menardo, Minardi, Minardo are Italian cognates. Meinhardt is the German version, while Meiner, Meinert, Mehnert, Menthe are Low German cognates. Minnert and Mint are Frisian forms.

Mercer : English Occupational Name...Mercer was the one who dealt in silks, velvet, and expensive materials, although the term was sometimes applied to merchants in general.

Merlo : derived from the Old French word merle = blackbird -- Merle was used as a French Nickname for simplicity, or for the catcher of blackbirds.

Merrill is an English matronymic name derived from the given name Muriel, which in itself came from Celtic muir = sea + gael = bright. Muriel was a popular name in East Anglia where it was introduced by Breton soldiers with William the Conqueror. Norsemen also brought the name to Northern England from Ireland. Variations include Merril, Merrel, Merrall, Murril, Murrell, Murrills, Merrells, Merralls, Murrells, Mirralls .

Metcaf is a variation of the English nickname Metcalf, from Middle English metecalf = meat calf, and was the name given the herdsman or slaughterer, or sometimes attached as a nickname to the sleek and plump person.

Middlesworth is an English place name that described the settlement located between two others, from Old English midel = middle + worð = settlement. The man who removed from that location to another settlement was sometimes described by his place of origin.

Miles : English Patronymic name by way of Old French and the given name Milo, or occasionally from the given name Michael. Miles is also infrequently derived as an occupational name from the servant or retainer called a miles in medieval times.

Mill : In Medieval times, an center in every village or settlement was the mill, where people took their corn to be ground into flour. The man who worked at the mill, and sometimes the miller himself, might come to be known as Mill, or a variant of the name. In fact, the most common form of Mill is Mills . It has cognative forms in almost every language.

Miller : English Occupational Name for the man who operated the mill from the Middle English term mille. Requested by Darryl Rogers

Mitchell is an English, Scot, and Irish Patronymic name from the given name Michel, the regular vernacular form of Michael. Variants are Mitchel and Michell , while the English patronymic version takes the form of Mitchelson or Michelson .

Mitter : German place name for the farmer whose land was in the middle of two other, particularly when the farmers had the same given name. It's from Middle High German, mitte = middle, and could be used as in Hans mitte, or the Hans in the middle.

Mixon/Mix/Mixson : English Patronymic Name...The archangel Michael was the patron of the 12th century Crusades, and the name Michael was a favorite as a result. 'Of Michael' or 'of Mich/Mick' denoted the son. Mix and Mixon/Mixson also denote son of Mick or Michael. Requested by: Debra Mixon

Moebeck is a Swedish ornamental name comprised of the elements Mo = sand dune + back = stream. The Swedes were among the last to adopt surnames in Europe and chose them strictly for their pleasing sound. Other Mo names are Moberg (dune hill), Mogren (dune branch). Moe, Mohlen, Molen, Mohlin, Molin are variations of the name Mo -- also found as a Swedish surname by itself.

Moen is a variation of the Irish patronymic name Mohan , which was Anglicized from the Gaelic O'Mochain , which means "descendant of Mochan." Mochan, the given name, was derived from Gaelic moch = early, timely. Sometimes the name was translated into English as Early. Other variations are O'Mochaine, O'Moughane, O'Moghan, O'Moughan, O'Moghane, O'Moon, Moohan, Mowen, Moen, Moan .

Moffatt is an English and Scottish Place name derived from a place so-named in the former county of Dumfries, from the Gaelic word magh = plain, field + fada = long. Variations are Moffett, Moffitt, Muffatt, Muffett, Meffat , and Mefet.

Mogk : English Patronymic Name from the Old English personal name Mawa, which was used to describe an important local personality in the settlement or village.

Monday is an English patronymic name derived from the Old Norse given name Mundi, a shortened form of several compound names with the element mundr = protection. Occasionally, it is a nickname for someone who had a particular association with that day of the week, such as having his feudal service due that day. Monday was considered a lucky day to be born, and some may have derived the nickname that way. Finally, Monday is sometimes of Irish origin, an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Mac Giolla Eoin , meaning "son of the servant of Eoin," and the confusion of the Irish in translating Giolla Eoin and Luain (the latter is Monday in Gaelic). Mondy, Mundy, Munday are variations.

Moneymaker is an English nickname for the rich man, or an English occupational name for the moneyer, similar to the name Minter, for the man who minted money. It is derived from Middle English moneye = money, from Old French moneie > Latin moneta.

Montecalvo is an Italian place name, comprised of two elements: monte is derived from Old French mont = hill + calvo, which is an Italian form of another Old French word, chauf = bald < Latin calvus. It may have been a town or settlement during Medieval times, and the name would have described the man who emigrated to his new location from the settlement called Montecalvo. The town would have gotten its name from its location near the "bald mountain" or "bald hill," which is a fairly common term regarding hilly geography, describing the hill which was covered by trees or grasses except at the top.
The name Calvus was a given name (stemming from a nickname) among early Romans, and the name lingered as a given name among Medieval Italians, lending credence to the possibility that the name occasionally originated as a place name describing "Calvus's hill."

Moore is an English Place name for the man who lived on a moor, in a fen, or any of the various settlements with this name -- derived from their location near the moor or fen. It comes from the Old English mor . Occasionally, Moore is a nickname for the person with swarthy complexion, from Old French more = Moor/Negro, and sometimes Moore is derived from the Gaelic O'Mordha (descendant of Mordha , a name that meant 'great' or 'proud' in Gaelic) and Anglicized to Moore. Lastly, Moore can be a Scottish or Welsh Nickname for the big man, from Welsh mawr = big, great.

Moran is a variant of the English and French surname Morant, which is an old given name of unknown etymology, but believed to mean 'steadfast' or 'enduring.' When of Irish descent, Moran is derived by Anglicizing O' Morain , (descendant of Moran ), which usually has its accent on the first syllable, as opposed to the English and French version's second syllable accent.

Morgan is a Patronymic name of Welsh, Scot, and Irish origin -- from an old Celtic given name ( Morien in Wales) composed of elements meaning sea + bright. Morgan is one of the most common, and oldest of the Welsh names. There is a Scottish Clan Morgan established in medieval times with connections to the McKays , and was likely developed independently of the Welsh surname. The Irish version is from O'Murchan or O'Morghane , from the Gaelic O'Murchain .

Moriarty/Moirerdagh/Muirihertie : Irish Occupational Name...from very old Celtic terms muir =sea and cheardach =good navigator. Settled in County Kerry, on both sides of Castlemaine Harbor. The name is an anglicized version of Muircheardach or O'Muircheardach , with a literal meaning of skilled navigator of the sea. Variations include McMoirerdagh , and McMuirihertie . Requested by: Erina Moriarty

Morin : French surname for a dark complexion or dark-haired person; Moring may be a variation. The French Nickname Morin became Moreno in Italy and Spain. Requested by Mark Moring.

Morris : Welsh/English/Scottish/Irish Patronymic name from the French given name Maurice which was introduced at the time of the Norman conquest. Requested by Jennifer Morris

Morrison is an English and Scottish patronymic form of the name Morris , an English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish patronymic surname from the given name Maurice . It was introduced to the area by Billy and his conquering Normans in 1066. Maurice is taken from Latin Mauritius, and Maurice was the name borne by a number of early Christian saints. Variations are Morriss, Morrish, Morrice, Maurice, Morse, Morce, Morss . Cognate forms include Maurice, Mauris, Maurisse, Maurize, Morice, Morisse, Morize, Meurice, Meurise (French); Maurizio, Maurizzi, Maurici, Maurigi (Italian); Mauricio (Portugal); Moriz, Moritz (German); Meuris, Risse (Flemish/Dutch); Moricz (Hungarian). Other patronymic forms are McMorris, MacMuiris, McVarish, Mac Mhuiris, McMorris, Fitzmorris, Moritzer, Moritzen, Morissen, Mouritsen, Mouritzen, Mauritzen .

Mortley is an English place name comprised of the Old English elements Morta = OE personal name + leah = wood, clearing...which described the man who lived at or near the homestead of a man named Morta, whose location would have been well-known enough to use as a reference.

Morton is an English and Scottish Place name derived from several places called that, and originated in the Old English elements mor = marsh, fen, moor + tun = enclosure, settlement. It was a name to describe the man who lived at the settlement by the marsh or moor.

Actually, Murrough and Morrow are variations of the same name, and are Anglicized versions of the Gaelic given name Murchadh, composed of the elements muir = sea + cadh = warrior. Variations of Morrow, which is the most commonly found version of the Irish and Scottish name, are Morrough, Murrow , and Murrough, and McMurrough is a patronymic version.

Mosley is a variation of Moseley, an English place name for any of the several locations in Central, West, and Northwest England, derived from Old English mos = peat bog + leah = woods, clearing. The man who originated in that location was often described that way by his new neighbors after moving to their town or settlement.

Moss and Moses are derived from the Hebrew name Moshe > Moses, the Israelite leader in the Book of Exedos, and linked to the Hebrew word msh = to draw (from the water). Mosse, and Mossman are variations of Moss, which are similar in nature to Moseman. Moosmann, Moser, Miester and Mosl are cognates of Moss found in Germany.

Mulcaster is a place name in Northern England; Mulcaster (castle) (now Muncaster) near Ravenglas, belonged to the Pennington Family of Lancashire since the Conquest. Mulcaster is comprised of Celtic mul = bare hill, headland + Old English ceaster = Roman fort. David de Mulcaster the original of the family was son of Benedict Pennington who lived there in the time of King John and assumed the name from the place of nativity for distinction's sake.

Muldowney : Irish Patronymic name from the descendant of Dunadhach , the fortress holder, Gaelic maol = chief + dun = low hill. Requested by Brian Muldowney

Mulholland is an Irish patronymic name, Anglicized from the Gaelic O Maolchalann , which meant "descendant of the devotee of (St.) Calann."

Mullen is an Irish Patronymic name, an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name O'Maolain , which meant 'descendant of Maolan' whose name meant 'devotee' or 'tonsured one.' O'Mullane is a variation of Mullen, as are Mullens, Mullin, Mullins, Millin, Mullings, Mullane, Mulhane, Mullon, Millens, Milling, Mollan,Moylan, Melane, O'Moylane, O'Mullane, O'Mollane , O'Melane .

Muller is a cognate form of the English surname Miller, the occupational name for the man who operated the mill, one of the primary early occupations. Millar is found in Scotland as a variation and Milner is the predominate form in Yorkshire. Meller is another English variation. Cognates include Moulinier, Moliner, Meunier, Munier, Meunie, Mugnier, Mounier, Mounie, Maunier, Monnier, Lemeunier, Lemonnier, Meusnier, Millour, Millinaire (French); Molinaro, Molinari, Monari, Monaro, Munari, Mugnaro, Mugnai (Italian); Molinero (Spain); Moliner, Munne (Catalan); Moliero (Portugal); Morariu (Rumania); Müllner, Müller, Milner, Muller, Molner, Miller, Molitor (German); Möller, Moller (Low German); De Meulder, Mulder, DeMolder, Moller, Moolenaar (Flemish, Dutch); Mlynarski, Mlynski (Polish); Mlynar (Czech); Möller (Swedish); Molnar (Hungarian); Meuller, Muller, Miler, Miller (Jewish Ashkenazik).

Muncy is generally derived from Mounsey , an English place name of Norman origin, from Monceaux or Monchaux, both in present-day France, and originating in the Old French word moncel = hillock. Variations are Mouncey, Moncey, Munsey, Munchay, Mounsie, Muncie .

Murdock : English Patronymic name derived from the old Irish name Murdoch (seaman) which was introduced into England before the Conquest.

Murgatroyd : English (Yorkshire) surname derived from the place of residence. In 1371 the records show that a Johanus de Morgateroyde was appointed the chief constable of Warley. The surname was derived from the area where the clan lived - moor-gate-royd . Literally the clearing by the gate to the moor. There are many variations on the spelling, Murgitroyd, Morgatroyd and Margetroyd being the commonest. Submitted by Ron Murgatroyd

Myatt is an English patronymic name from the given name Myat, which was a truncated form of the given name Mihel (Michael in a vernacular form) + the diminutive suffix -at. Miatt, Myott, Miot are variations.


Nagel/Naher/Nager/Neher/Nader : German occupational name for the tailor. Nahen = to sew. Many of these names are also spelled with two dots over the first vowel. (umlaut)

Nations is a variation of the given name Nathan, which came from Hebrew Natan = "given (by God)." Natan, Nusan, Nusen are Jewish variations. Natan, Nation are English versions. Nation has its origin in the West Midlands of England with the alteration attributed to folk etymology. The addition of the -S at the end indicates a patronymic form of the name, as in "Nation's son, John." Or -- "Who's boy is that?" "Nation's."

Naude is a variation of the French surname Naud, which is taken from an aphetic form of several given names of Germanic origin that ended in -wald = rule; such as Arnold or Reynold. Cognates are Noldt, Nolde, Nolte, Noll (German); Naldi (Italian).

Neal is an English patronymic name, a variant of the name Neil. This is the way it is usually spelled in Southern and Central England, and is taken from the Middle English form of the name, Neel. Neale and Neall are variations.

Needham is an English place name comprised of the Old English elements ned > Middle English nede = poverty, hardship + ham = homestead. Need is an English nickname for an impoverished person, based on the same origin. Needham would be the homestead of the man nicknamed "Need" or it may have been the "poor homestead."

Negretti is an Italian diminutive of a cognate form of the French name Noir. Whew! It's not really that complicated. The French name Noir is a nickname for the man with dark hair or complexion, from Old French noir = black > Latin niger = black. The Italian form of the name is Negro, Nero, Negri, LoNero, Nigri, Nieddu . Those names had variations (diminutive forms) that include Negrelli, Negrello, Negrini, Negrino, Negrotto, Neretti, Nerucci, Nerozzi, Nigriello .

Neil is a medieval given name which means "Champion" and evolved into an Irish, Scottish, and English surname. It is derived from the given name of Irish origin -- Niall -- and was brought to England by the Scandinavians. Neill, Neild, Neele, Neel, Neeld, Niall, Niell, Nield, Niel, Nihell, Nihill are variations.

Nelson is an English Patronymic name derived either from the given name Nell or Neil, both of which originated from the Irish given name Niall . It means literally -- Niall's son. It is believed to have meant 'champion' and was brought to England from Ireland by Scandinavian settlers where the 'son of Niall' became known as Niall's son , or Nelson.

Némecek and Némec are both Czechoslovakian nicknames, used to describe a man who came from another country and spoke a different language. The Russian form is Nemchinov , derived from Nemchin = German. In Old Slavic, this word denoted a foreigner and was derived from nemoi = dumb -- in the context of being unable to speak (the same language). Nemtsev is a Russian variation. Other cognates are Nimchuk (Ukraine); Niemiec (Polish); Niemetz, Niemitz, Niembsh (German of Slavic origin), Niemiec, Niemic (Ashkenazic Jewish); Nemet, Nemeth (Hungarian). Patronymic cognates are Niemcewicz (Polish); Nimzowitz (German/slavic origin); Niemocow (Jewish-A). Diminutive forms are Nimchenko, Niemczyk, Nemecek, Niemtschke, Niemczyk, Niemtchik, Niemchenok .

Ness is an English and Scottish place name that described the man who lived at a headland, or came from one of the many places by that name, from Middle English ness = headland.

Neufeld is a German place name comprised of the elements from Middle High German niuwe = new + feld = field, and is similar in nature to Neuberg and Neuberger (new town) which were often Americanized as Newberg and Newberger.

Newham is an English place name that described the man from the so-named locations in Northumberland and North Yorkshire, derived from Old English neowe = new + ham = homestead.

Newport is an English place name, from any of the so-named locations whose names were derived from Old English neowe = new + port = market town. The man who originated in that location would be known by that name when he moved to another locale, as in John-of-Newport > John Newport.

Niblett : English Nickname...Niblett comes from a Middle English word nibbe which meant 'beak,' and was a nickname for someone with a prominent nose. Some of the nicknames that stuck as surnames were none too kind, but by comparison, this is fairly mild. Requested by John Saulsbury Niblett

Nickerson is an English patronymic name derived from a diminutive form of the name Nicholas, from Greek nikan = to conquer + laos = people. Nicholetts, Nix, Nickes, Nickinson, Nickisson are other patronymic forms derived from diminutives. Nickerson was predominately found in the Norfolk area.

Nigro : is a cognizant of Noir , a French nickname for someone with notably dark hair or complexion, from the Old French noir = black. LeNoir is a variant of the name as well.

Niziolek : Polish Nickname...The small or thin man often was referred to by a descriptive word that wound up as a surname -- Niziolek is the Polish version; Littell, Lytle, Short , and Cline are among the English counterparts.

Noble is an English, Scottish, and French nickname given to the man of lofty birth or high character -- or occasionally as an ironic reference to the man of low station and humble birth. It is derived from Old French noble = high born, distinguished. Among Jewish (Ashkenazic) heritage it is an Anglicized version of Knobel, or a similar surname. A French variation is Lenoble. Italian cognates are Nobile, Nobili ; Portuguese call it Nobre; it is De Nobele among the Flemish and Dutch. Nobles and Nobels are patronymic forms of the name.

Noel is an English and French nickname for the man who had some connection with the Christmas season, such as owing some form of work or service (ie. providing a Yule log) as a feudal obligation at that time of year, or having performed in the Christmas pageant and doing a memorable job (it isn't uncommon to find surnames based on a part played in a pageant). Noel was also a given name used for children born at Christmas time. Variations are Nowell, Nowill (English); Nouau, Nouhaud, Nouaud (French).

The name Nordmarken is a compound name, and is among those taken by the Swedes when they were obliged to have a last name (their government required it in the 19th Century, among the last to adopt surnames).
Most of the Swedish names are simply compounds of nice-sounding elements. The government had a list of prefixes and suffixes that were acceptable -- they didn't want any double-entendre or risque last names, so they had an official list. Nord is the Swedish word for North, and mark means land. Nordmark would be north land. While there is a chance that it was a place name to describe a man from the north, most Swedish names are simply pleasant-sounding compounds. Other Nord names include Nordberg, Norberg = north hill; Nordvall = north bank; Nordwall = north bank/wall; Nordlund = north grove; Nordahl = north valley; Nordgren = north branch; Nordquist = north twig; Nordstrom = north river.

The man who came from the North-country during medieval times was described as norð or norðer (that -d like character is called eth, and pronounced like -th). Norris is an English descriptive name for people who lived originally in Scandinavia, Scotland, or sometimes -- just the north of England. Occasionally, Norris is derived from a compound, from Old English norð + hus = house. It described the man who lived in a house at the north end of the settlement. Sometimes Norris is taken from Old French nurice = nurse, and was an occupational name for a wetnurse or foster mother. Variations are Noriss, Norrish, Norie, Norrie, Norreys.

Most of the names that begin with NOR- are derived from the name North, which described the man who lived north of the main settlement, or in the north part of the village. Occasionally, it described the man who had emigrated from another land to the North. Northe, Northern are variations. Cognates include Nordmann, Normann, Noroman, Van Norrden, Van den Noort, Nohr, Norring, Nordh, Norden, Nordin, Nordell, Norlin, Nordlin, Norling, Norelius, Norrman.

Northrop/Northrup : English Place Name...An old Danish word termination was - thorpe which designated 'outlying farmstead or hamlet' was corrupted into - throp and - thrup in early England. North-thorpe -- the north farm -- became Northrop and Northrup as an English place name.

Novak is a Czechoslovakian nickname from the Czech word novy = new, which was used in reference to a newcomer to a place. It occasionally denotes a shoemaker who made new shoes (not a cobbler who repaired old ones) and is the third most common Czech surname. Novotny, Novy are variations. Cognates include Nowak, Nowacki, Nowik, Nowicki (Polish); Nowack, Nowak, Naujock, Naucke (German of Slavic origin); Novak, Nowak, Novik, Novick, Novic, Nowik, Noveck, Novicki, Novitzki (Jewish); Novak (Hungarian). Novacek, Nowaczyk, Novichenko are diminutive forms.

Nuccio : The surname John is universally found, from the Hebrew name Yochanan which meant 'God has favored me with a son.' Each language had its own versions of John and the Italians used a good many, including Giovannelli, Gianelli, Gianiello, Gianilli , and Giannucci , among dozens of others. Giannucci often became Nussi, Nuzzi , and Nucci , to which the final -O- completed Nuccio .

Nuchols isn't among my sources, although Nucklaus is a German cognate of the English patronymic name Nicholas (also the basis for the similar name Nichols ). Nuckols may be a spelling derivative or Americanization of Nucklaus, .

Nugent : Neugent is a variation of Nugent, which is a place name among the English and Irish derived from any of the several locations in Northern France called Nogent, or with Nogent as part of the name. It ultimately came from Latin Novientum, which was an altered form of a Gaulish term that meant "new settlement." It is a commonly found name in Ireland, and many of this name descend from Fulke de Bellesme, lord of Nogent, Normandy, who received land from William the Conqueror and settled near Winchester, England. It was his gr-grandson Hugh de Nugent who settled first in Ireland and lived there until his death in 1213.

There are a number of Swedish compound names that include the first element NY = new. One of them is Nyberg (new hill). The names are ornamental surnames taken by the Swedes in the 1800's when their government required that they do so. Nyberger or Nybarger would be likely variations.


Oak is an English place name that described the man who lived near a prominent oak tree or in an oak woods, from the Middle English word oke = oak. It may also have been a nickname for the man who was exceptionally strong, as the tree. Variations are Oake, Oke, Oaks, Oakes, Oaker, Atrtock, Attoc, Attack, Atack, Aikman (Scottish version).

O'Connell: Irish Patronymic Name...it originated with the grandson of Conall , whose name meant 'world mighty.'

O'Dungan is Anglicized from O'Donnagain, which mean 'descendant of Donnagan ' a diminutive form of a personal name that meant 'dark' or 'brown.' Donegan is the most common spelling, with variants Dunnigan, Doonican, Dunegain, O'Donegan , and O'Donegaine .

Olejnicazk/Olejniczak : Polish Patronymic/Occupational Name...There a few names that are patronymic (from the father's name) that originate from the father's occupation. The Polish name Olejnicazk/Olejniczak came from the 'son of the maker of oil from seeds for food purposes.' Kind of an Olestra forebear, I guess. (just kidding!)

Ohler is sometimes seen as Öhler, and is a German cognate of the English occupational name for the seller of oil, or the extractor of oil. It is derived from AngloNorman French olier < oile = oil < Latin oleum = (Olive) oil. Linseed oil was the predominate product in Northern England, extracted from locally grown flax. Variations include Oyler, Olier (English); Ollier, Olier (French); Oliaria, Dell'Olio, Dall'Oglio (Italian); Ohleyler, Ohler, Ohler, Ohlmann (German); Oliemann, Olie, Olij (Flemish/Dutch); Olejnik, Volejnik (Czech); Ohlmacher (Jewish).

Oliver : is both an English and a French surname, although the French version is often seen as Olivier. It's a Patronymic name from the given name Oliver, which means 'elf, host.' Requested by Suzy Oliver.

Olney : is an English Place name derived from Old English ollaneg, which meant island of Olla.

Olzack: a variation of the Polish place name Olszewski, so-named from the Polish ‘ olcha, olsza = alder + ew = a possessive suffix + -ski = suffix of local surnames, to describe the man who lived by the alder, or who was from the settlement near the alder called by that name. Other variations are Olszak, Olszacki, Olszycki, Olszanski, Olszynski, Olshevski, Olshevsky, Olchovski, Volchonsky, Olcha , and Olchik.

Ortiz is a patronymic form of the Spanish surname Fuerte and Fuertes -- a name found among the English and French as FORT, a nickname derived from Old French fort = strong, brave -- that was given to the brave man. Occasionally, it was used as a place name for the man who lived near a fortified stronghold.

Oster is a Swedish name for "one from the East." Oster with an umlaut over the -O- is the German word for Easter.

O'Toole is a patronymic variation of the Irish surname Toole, which is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name O Tuathail , which means "descendant of Tuathal" which was an old Celtic name meaning "people, tribe" + "rule." Other variations are O'Tuale, O'Toughill, Toughill, Touhill, O'Twohill, Toohill, Tohill, Tohall, Toal , and Toale.

Otter/Otterman : While many animal names derived from the pictures on the roadside inns during the Middle Ages, the surnames Otter and Otterman aren't among those. Otter is a corruption of the Old English names Otthar or Othere, which meant "terrible army." I don't know if that means 'terribly mean army' or just 'terribly bad army." Just kidding...I'm sure Otthar could throw a spear with the best of them!

An Outlaw is a man deprived of the benefit and protection of the law, and in medieval England it was legal to kill such a man...as a surname, it may have derived as a patronymic description of the son. As in John - son of the Outlaw ...or John of the Outlaw -- most of which were condensed by dropping the "son of" or "of the." Remember, the son is not responsible for the sins of the father!

Owens is a patronymic variation of the Welsh surname Owen, from the Welsh personal name Owain, likely drawn from Latin Eugenius. Bowen is another patronymic form, a shortened version of ap'Owen .

Oxford is an English place name from a place in Oxfordshire, at a ford used by oxen. A ford is a crossing place at a river or stream, and a fairly common surname element used to describe the medieval man who lived nearby.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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