This ancient English surname of WINSTEAD was a locational name meaning 'one who came from WINSTON' in County Durham. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form WINESTUN. The earliest of the place-name on record appears to be WINESTUNA, which was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and WYNSTON was documented in the year 1291. Surnames can be divided into four categories; place names, occupation names, nicknames and patronymics. PLACE NAMES are the largest group and covers all those names first applied to people who lived in or nearby to a particular place. For example, Grove, Wood, Field, Meadow, and Street are obvious. Occasionally names were taken from obscure villages or hamlets which no longer exist and this can make research confusing. OCCUPATION NAMES cover nearly all trades which existed in the Middle Ages. These are numerous. It does not necessarily follow that such names as King, Duke, Earl and so on mean your ancestors were of noble blood. It is much more likely that such named people worked for the person referred to. NICKNAMES. This is a smaller group but in many ways more interesting. They usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. For instance the name Black would denote a dark man, Little, someone small (or even somewhat ambiguously) someone tall. PATRONYMICS. This group covers all names which derive immediately from the owner's father. Many christian names which are also surnames have, over the years, lost the possessive form but the origin is still the same. Examples of this could be names such as Peter,Thomas, Henry - all names which became both christian and surnames over the years. In 1964, The United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Social Security Administration made a report of the 'Distribution of Surnames of the Social Security Account Number File'. It was found that there were 1,091,522 different surnames in the file. There were an estimated 18,840 persons of the name WINSTON.
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