Hallam

August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
An English last name, meaning “at the rocks”, “at the nook”, “from the hills”, or “remote valley”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Hal, Hall, Hallum, Halm, Halum.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Middle name of Jethro Hallam Creighton (b. 1852), the young boy through whose eyes we view the events of Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

Carey

August 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
One of those “last names as first names” that were once a quite popular way for a mother’s maiden name to be passed on to her sons, “Carey” (alternately spelled “Cary”) may be from an English place name, meaning “fort”; or a Welsh place name, meaning “stony island”; or a French place name from Normandy or Burgundy; or an Irish name meaning “descended from Ciardha (the Black)”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Carew, Cary, Carrey, Carye, Ceary, Crey, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Carey Kriszinski, Sheila’s overweight older brother, “forever working the meat slicer”, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Carey Parrish (b. 1967), American author and writer.
Carey Wilson (1889-1962), American producer, screenwriter, and voice actor.

Morris

July 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Medieval English variation of “Maurice”; ultimately from Latin, meaning “dark-skinned”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maurey, Mauri, Maurice, Mauricio, Maurie, Mauritius, Maurits, Mauritz, Maurizio, Mauro, Maurus, Maury, Maurycy, Meuric, Meurig, Mo, Moe, Morey, Moric, Moris, Moriz, Morr, Morrie, Morrissey, Morrison, Morry, Morse, Mory, Moss, Muirie, Muiris, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Morris Snezak, co-owner (with his wife, Anna) of AnaMor Towers apartments, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Curly

June 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Unknown; possibly a nickname for someone with curly hair, or perhaps derived from the Gaelic last name “Curley”, ultimately meaning “in the shape of the god of thunder”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Curley, Curlie, Kerley.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Curly, a local tennis champ who dates Lily’s mother, Rosie, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Most Popular Last Names in the U.S.

May 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

“Baby name trends can change wildly from generation to generation, but last names tend to stick around. . . . For each name, we created state-by-state heat maps and racial breakdowns. A few of the patterns and regional differences might surprise you.”
Click through to the article to see the rankings, and to learn more:

America’s 21 Most Popular Last Names (Plus Maps and Charts for Each)

The names (in alphabetical order, not order of popularity) are:
Anderson, Brown, Davis, Garcia, Hernandez, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Lopez, Martin, Martinez, Miller, Moore, Rodriguez, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Smith, White, Williams, Wilson

Related article: “The 18 Whitest Last Names in America” (which would you guess is number one?):

Fox, Hansen, Hoffman, Kelley, Meyer, Miller, Myers, Olson, Peters, Peterson, Ryan, Schmidt, Snyder, Stone, Sullivan, Wagner, Weaver, Wood

The 7 Types of English Last Names

May 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

As the linked article says, “There are perhaps 45,000 different English surnames, but most had their origins as one of these seven types.” Click through to see explanations and lists of examples for each type:

There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours?

1. Occupational.
2. Describing a personal characteristic.
3. From an English place name.
4. From the name of an estate.
5. From a geographical feature of the landscape.
6. Patronymic, matronymic, or ancestral.
7. Signifying patronage.

The Meanings of 62 Last Names

May 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

This Mental Floss video gives the meanings of 62 different last names, including the language or country of origin. Click through to find out what they are:

List Show: 62 Last Name Meanings

Names that made the list:
Adams, Allen, Anderson, Baker, Baxter, Becker, Brown, Campbell, Carter, Clark, Cohen, Cook, Cooper, Evans, Fox, Garcia, Gomez, Green, Hall, Hill, Hoffman, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Kim, King, Lee, Lewis, Li, Lopez, Lynch, Martinez, Miller, Moore, Muller, Murphy, Myers, Novak, Oleson, Olsen, Parker, Perry, Phillips, Roberts, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rogers, Russell, Schmidt, Schneider, Smith, Stewart, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Torres, Turner, Walker, Weber, White, Wilson, Wright, Young

Percy

May 24, 2015 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
From an English last name, derived from a French place name, “Perci”, a small Norman village; or a shortened version of “Percival“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Parsifal, Parzifal, Perce, Perceval, Percevale, Percie, Percival, Percyvelle.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Percy Weil, a New York theatrical agent, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

Sagar

May 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Possibly from an Anglo-Saxon last name, meaning “sea-spear”, or a Hindu name meaning “lake” or “ocean”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Saegar, Sager, Sakar, Saker, Seagar, Seager, Seegar, Seeger, Segar, Seger, Sigar, Siger, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Sagar Morrison, a friend of Hurstwood and Drouet in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

WRITERS:
Sagar Sarhadi (b. 1933), Indian director, playwright, producer, screenwriter, and short story writer.

Norman

May 12, 2015 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
An old Germanic name meaning “Northman”, referring to the Vikings who settled Normandy.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Norm, Normand, Normant, Normie

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Dr. Norman McNeill Hale, a well-known figure in Chicago, who buys one of the boxes for the play Drouet’s Elks lodge puts on as a fundraiser, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

WRITERS:
Norman Bridwell (1928-2014), American children’s book writer and cartoonist.
Norman Corwin (1910-2011), American essayist, producer, professor, screenwriter, and writer.
Norman Cousins (1915-1990), American activist, author, editor, journalist, and professor.
Norman Davies (b. 1939), Anglo-Polish historian and writer.
Norman Douglas (1868-1952), Scottish-Austrian author and travel writer.
Norman Finkelstein (b. 1953), American activist, author, professor, and scholar.
Norman Finkelstein (b. 1954), American critic and poet.
Norman Rowland Gale (1862-1942), English poet, reviewer, and story-teller.
Norman Hunter (1899-1995), English children’s book writer.
Norman Lear (b. 1922), American activist, producer, and screenwriter.
Norman Lewis (1908-2003), English author and journalist.
Norman Lewis (1912-2006), American author, etymologist, grammarian, and lexicographer.
Norman Lindsay (1879-1969), Australian artist, author, cartoonist, and writer.
Norman Maclean (1902-1990), American author and scholar.
Norman Mailer (1923-2007), American activist, actor, essayist, filmmaker, journalist, novelist, and playwright.
Norman Whitfield (1940-2008), American producer and songwriter.

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