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Re: surnames

At 11:40 AM 24/02/02 +0800, Steve St.Clair wrote:
>I've been looking everywhere for an explanation. How, when and why did
>the practice of surnames begin? Anyone have a lengthy explanation on
>this or a good web site to look at ?

Apparently Steve, they started from occupations and/or recognizable
features or exploits of that person, some examples:

Bailie-- Bailiff
Baxter-- Baker
Boniface-- Keeper of an inn
Brazier-- Worked with brass
Brewster-- Beer manufacturer
Chandler-- Made or sold candles
Clark-- Clerk
Clerk-- Clergyman, cleric
Cohen-- Priest
Collier-- Coal miner
Cooper-- Made or repaired vessels made of staves & hoops, such as
              casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Crocker-- Potter
Faulkner-- Falconer
Fletcher-- Made bows and arrows
Hacker-- Maker of hoes
Hayward-- Keeper of fences
Higgler-- Itinerant peddler
Hillier-- Roof tiler
Hooker-- Reaper
Hooper-- Made hoops for casks and barrels
Keeler-- Bargeman
Kempster-- Wool comber
Leech-- Physician
Mason-- Bricklayer (in case you didn't know!)
Plumber-- Applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or
             stained glass windows.
Porter-- Door keeper
Ripper-- Seller of fish
Roper-- Maker of rope or nets
Sawyer-- One who sawed; carpenter
Schumacker-- Shoemaker
Scrivener-- Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Sinclair/St.Clair  Argued a lot  (Sorry, I added that one!  LOL)
Slater-- Roofer
Squire-- Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Tanner-- Tanned (cures) animal hides into leather
Tapley-- Put the tap in an ale cask
Tinker-- Itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
Travers-- Toll bridge collector
Tucker-- Cleaner of cloth goods
Turner-- Turned wood into spindles on a lathe
Wainwright-- Wagon maker
Waterman-- Boatman who plied for hire
Webster-- Operator of looms
Wheelwright-- Made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages,etc.
Whitewing-- Street sweeper
Wright-- Workman, especially a construction worker

I believe that the NEWMAN name came about from that person having 
been literally, the new man in town.

Hope that helps,


Ian Newman
Perth, Western Australia