Finding Our Immigrant Ancestry: Butcher, Baker, Basket Maker

May 01, 2014 720

by Angelo Coniglio

Today, most Western names consist of one or more given names combined with a family name, or surname. Surnames are a relatively recent phenomenon in human history. Nobility and landowners may have had identifying names besides their given names, but ordinary residents of most countries didn't use surnames until they were required by law, some not until the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Combining the 'given' name with a surname identified an individual within a family, and resulted in the 'John Smith' type of name we're now familiar with.

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Fonte: L'italo-Americano

 

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