Category Archives: Surnames
Do You Have a Border Reiver in Your Family Tree?
Yesterday, I was on Ancestry.com and received an email from a distant relative. She had a question about her great-great-great-grandfather, John Hetherington. She wondered if I knew his wife’s name. I answered her inquiry, and yet, there was a sentence in her email that had caught my eye. She said: “I live near to the Cumbrian border and the original ancestral home of the Hetherington Border Reiving Family – a dangerous and desperate lot!” I wondered to myself what “border reiving” meant, so I went online. Border Reivers were families […]
Evolution of the Surname Charlish
As I was working on my Oxborough family tree, I came across a new surname. My ancestor, Charles Frederick Oxborough, had married a woman named Grace Ethel Charlish. They married in 1931 in Beccles, Suffolk, England. When I discover a new surname, like Charlish, I want to find its origins. For my English ancestors, I use SurnameDB. Yet, this database did not have a listing for Charlish. I performed a general search on the internet. Forebear’s website showed that, in 2014, it was “most prevalent” in England. It was also […]
The Many Variations of the Surname Wakenight
History tells us that Europeans immigrated to America in the late seventeenth century. Did you know that many surnames changed after the immigrants arrived in America? Most of these immigrants did not know how to read or write English. In fact, many did not speak English, preferring their native language. When a recordkeeper wrote an immigrant’s name on a document, he would write the name how it “sounded”. Here are some examples of “Americanized” surnames are: The German surname Fuchs became Fox. The Dutch surname Van Cruijningen became Cunningham. The […]
What Does Your Surname Mean?
Have you ever wondered what your surname means? I found a website entitled Surname Database which listed thousands of names. When you type in your last name, the database will give you the historical meaning and origin of your name. While the database contains the most common surnames, it does not include all names. An excellent example of this is my surname, which is Wakenight. I came across a website, The Descendants of Daniel Wakenight, created by Sharon Strow. On this site, I found that my ancestors came from Germany. […]