If you’re curious about your family history, using your family surname might well best way to start your search.
Earlier this year, Starts at 60 brought you details about a new website allowing people to search for information on their surname, revealing how common it is and from where it originated.
However, with an increase in the surnames being passed from both mother and father, and the number of women who are keeping their maiden names alive in other ways, adding branches to the family tree just got tricky.
Rebecca Endicott recently revealed the surprising and sometimes bizarre meanings behind a handful of popular surnames.
Take Cooper for example. Endicott writes that it’s an ‘occupational’ name in that it stems from those who had the profession of making barrels (a very popular line of work way back when).
A quick search of some of the surnames lurking in the Starts at 60 office exposed great diversity.
Surnames deriving from a sea-faring occupation dating back to the mid-1500s, a geographical locality five miles from Halifax in the United Kingdom, links to Danish leaders who invaded England, and even a purported direct descendent of a prince of Denmark were just some of the weird and wonderful.
Surnames might be a simple word, but chances are it will reveal a lot about your family history.