History of surnames

Surname Meanings:

Look-up request



Surname Meanings and Origins
C, Co, D, Do, E


Callicott : is a variation of Caldicott, an English Place name from any number of settlements originally spelled Caldecote, from
Old English ceald = cold + cot = cottage or dwelling. Some suggest the name was in reference to unattended shelters for
travelers, although in the Domesday Book (1086) many of these places had achieved some status. Caldecott is a varitation

Campbell is a Scottish nickname derived from Gaelic cam = crooked, bent + beul = mouth. Gillespie O Duibhne was the first
to have borne the nickname, and founded clan Campbell at the beginning of the 13th century.

Carew: (English) One who came from Carew (fort), in Pembrokeshire.

Carmichael  (Scottish) One who came from Carmichael (castle of St. Michael), in Lanarkshire

Carter is an English Occupational name for the transporter of goods by cart or wagon from Anglo-Norman French caretier, a derivative of Old French caret which originally implied 'carrier.' Occasionally it is a form of McArthur .

Champagne (French) One who came from the Champagne (level country), a region in France

Chandler : The Chandler worked with wax, and in addition to making candles, he fashioned wax objects or icons that were used in church offerings. Chandler is an English Occupational name.

Charles (English) Descendant of Charles (man); one who came from Charles (rock palace), in Devonshire.

Cheeke (English) One with a prominent jaw; a pet name of endearment meaning chick or little chicken.

Cheney: (English) One who came from Quesney, Cheney, or Chenay (oak grove), in France; dweller near the chain, or barrier, used to close a street at night.

Cheyne (English) One who came from Quesney, Cheney, or Chenay (Oak grove) in France; dweller near the chain, or barrier, used to close a street at night.

Christiansen: (Danish, Norwegian) The son of Christian (follower of Christ)

Church (English) Dweller near a building used for Chrisitan worship.

Clare (Irish) One who came from Clare (plain or flat piece of land), the name of several villages and a county in Ireland.

During the Middle Ages, the common pronunciation of -er was -ar, so the man who sold items was the marchant, and the man who kept the books was the Clark. Clerc was the origin, and designated a member of the clergy, hence cleric. At the time, the primary members of the literate class were the clergy, which in minor orders were allow to marry and have families. The term clerk came to designate any literate man. Clarke, Clerk, Clerke are variations.

Clifford (English) One who came from Clifford (ford at a cliff), the name of several places in England; dweller at the shallow river crossing with a steep bank.

Cloud (English, Scottish) Dweller near the rock or mass of stone; the son of Leod (ugly).

There is a group of villages in Somerset that were named for the British river Cocker, from a word that meant 'crooked.' The Old Irish word cucar = crooked, awkward -- the river was named for a similar word from the Breton/Old Welsh languages. The man who originated in one of the villages so-named was called Coker.

Cole: (English) Descendant of Cole, a pet form of Nicholas (people’s victory).

Coleman is an English and Scottish patronymic name from the Old Irish given name Colman, from Columbun (from Latin Columba = dove). The Irish missionary to Europe, St. Columban (540-615) made the name popular. The name is sometimes derived as an Anglicized version of the Gaelic O Clumbhain (descendant of Clumhan).
As an occupational name, Coleman was the man who gathered charcoal, from Old English col = coal + mann = man -- and somewhat rarely, the name for the personal servant of the man named Cole.

Collins: Son of little Cole, a pet form of Nicholas (people’s victory).

Colquhuon (Scottish) One who formerly resided on the lands of Colquhoun (narrow corner or wood), in Dumbartonshire.

Conway : Welsh Place Name from Conwy, a town in N. Wales named for the Conwy River, which was named from an Old
Brit term that meant `reedy.' It is also sometimes derived from the Scottish place Conway in Beauly Parish and was recorded in
1215 as Coneway. Conway when descended from Ireland usually an Anglicized version of Mac Commidhe , a name which
meant `head smashing.'

Cook is the English occupational name for the cook, the man who sold cooked meats, or the keeper of an eating house. It is derived from Old English coc = cook. Cooke and Coke are variations.

Coope: The English Occupational name that describes the maker of wooden barrels.

Cooper (English) One who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs.

Corbet: (English, French. Irish) Dweller at the sign of the raven; the son of Corbet (raven)

Cornwell is an English regional name from the County of Cornwall, named for an Old English tribal name Cornwealas , from
Kernow -- the name the Cornish people used to describe themselves, possibly meaning "horn, headland" + wealas = strangers,
foreigners. Occasionally, Cornwell is a place name from Cornwell in Oxfordshire, from Old English corn < cron, cran = crane
+ wella = spring, stream. Cornwall and Curnow are variations.

Crawford is an English, Irish, or Scottish name that described the man who emigrated from the medieval locale called Crawford
(there were several such places -- Dorset and Lancashire, England, for example, and Strathclyde, Scotland as another). The
locations got their name from Old English crawa = crow + ford = ford, river crossing.

Cromwell (English) One who came from Cromwell (winding stream), in Nottinghamshire.

Cotton : Cot was a shortened form of cottage, and was used as the ending of many English surnames such as Wolcott, etc. and in a diminutive form with the suffix -on the English Place name Cotton was derived. The man who came to be known by that name lived near the small cottage, or at the cottages.

Courtenay: ( French) One who came from Courtenay, the name of two places in France.

Cross : English Place name for the man who lived near the stone cross set up by the roadside or marketplace, from Old Norse kross .

Curtis(s) (English) One with courtlike, or elegant, manners, well bred.

Cutler (English) One who made, repaired or sold knives and other cutting instruments.

Back to top


Dale is an English place name for the man who lived in the valley, from Middle English dale = dale, valley, from Old English doel and Old Norse dalr. It is also a name that described the man who emigrated from any of the several locations by that name. Daile, Dales, Deal are variations.

Daniel/Daniell/Daniels : English, French, Portuguese, German, Polish and Jewish Patronymic name, from the Hebrew given name Daniel (meaning God is my judge ). Variations are too numerous to list, but will be added as queries concern them.

Darcy most commonly is an English place name of Norman origin, with a fused preposition de' attached to Arcy, a town in La
Manche. The man who originated in Arcy was identified by his new neighbors by his former place of residence.
When of Irish origin, Darcy is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O' Dorchaidhe , which means "descendant of the dark one," from the gaelic word dorcha = dark, gloomy. However, there are Darcy families in Ireland who are of Norman descent, as the name was introduced to the island early on, by Sir William D'Arcy and Sir John D'Arcy (circa 1330).

Darlington (English) One who came from Darlington (village of Deornoth's people) in Durham.

Davenport : English Place Name...Many of the surnames that originated in England came from places where the progenitor lived... The name Davenport was first used in England's county Cheshire, where the Dane river flowed. Davenport was the 'town on the Dane River' and became the name of some who made their homes there.

Day is an English and Irish name that originates in several forms: as an English variation of David -- a common pet form of the name; as a patronymic name derived from the Middle English given name Daye from Old English dœg = day or the given name Dœgberht ; as an Irish patronymic name Anglicized from Ó Deághaidh , meaning "descendant of Deághadh " whose name meant "good luck." Daye, Dey, D'Eye, Daykin, Dakin, Deyes, Dayson, Deason, Dayman are other forms of the name.

De Campaine - the name came from a village or commune.

The name De Insula became De Lisle, Le Lisle and Lisley, then Lisle. see Eyles

Decker (German, Dutch) One who covers roofs with tile, straw or slate; one who came from Deck or Decker, the names of places in Germany.

Derby: (English) One who came from Derby (homestead frequented by wild animals), in Derbyshire

De Roche: (French) Dweller near the rock or cliff.

Deveraux is a spelling variation of Devereux, the English (Norman) place name which resulted from the fused preposition
-de- added to the location Evreux, which is located in Eure, Normandy.

Dixon (English) The son of Dick, a pet form of Richard (rule, hard).

Douglass is a variation of Douglas, the Scottish place name for any of the so-named locations on a river named with dubh = dark + glais = stream. There are several locations in Scotland and Ireland with the name, but most with the surname originated in the area some 20 miles south of Glasgow.

Downs, Downes, Down: (English) Dweller on, or near, the hill or hill pasture.

Doyley, D’Oyley: (English) One who came from Ouilly (Olius’ farm), the name of five places in Normandy.

Drake (English) Dweller at the sign of the dragon; one so nicknamed because of a dragon in his coat of arms; one with the qualitites of a male duck; one who played the part of a dragon in the mysteries and miracle plays.

Drayton: (English) One who came from Drayton (homestead near a portage, or on a narrow strip of land), the name of many places in England.

Drew: (English) Descendant of Drew, Dru or Drogo (carrier); or of Drew, a pet form of Andrew (manly).

Drummond is a Scottish place name to describe the man who lived near the ridge, from the Gaelic druim = ridge.

Drury is an English and French nickname derived from Old French druerie = love, friendship. It was introduced to England with followers of William the Conqueror, and during the Middle Ages it also carried the meaning of "love affair" or "sweetheart."

Dudley: (English) One who came from Dudley (Dudda’s meadow), in Worcestershire.

Dunbar (Scottish) One who lived on the lands of Dunbar (fort on the height). in Scotland

Dunn is a Scottish and Irish name from the Gaelic donn = dark, brown... a nickname for the man with dark hair or a dark complexion. It is also derived as an English nickname with the same meaning, from Old English dunn = dark colored. Occasionally, it is found as a Scottish place name from Dun the former county of Angus, from Gaelic dun = fort. Variations are Dun, Dunne, Don, Donne, Donn .

Dutton is an English place name from the so-named locations in Cheshire and Lancashire which received their names from Old English Dudda (a given name) + tun = enclosure, settlement. It described the man who came from that locale.

Back to top


Eaton: (English) One who came from Eaton (homestead on a river or island), the name of various places in England

Elliott : and its spelling variations are all based on the popular Middle Ages given name Elijah (My God is Jehovah). Among the many surnames that were adopted as English Patronymic names from Elijah were Ellis, Ellison, Elias , and Elliott .

Emerson: (English) The son of Emery ( work, industrious).

English: (English) An Englishman. Possibly the name was acquired while outside of England and brought back.

Eriksen (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) The son of Erik (ever king)

Erskine (Scottish) One who came from Erskine (green ascent), in Renfrewshire.

Eustace: (English) Descendant of Eustace (steadfast)

Everett is one of the many variations of the English name Everard, which came from a Germanic given name comprised of the elements ever = wild boar + hard = brave, strong, hardy. The name may be of Norman origin or as a variation of the name Eoforheard.

Eyles is an English place name from Anglo-Norman-French isle, idle = island, from Old French isel and Latin insula. The island of reference is likely to have been located in the North of France due to the origination of the surname. Isle is the most commonly found version, while Iles (primarily in Gloucester) Illes, Idle , and Lisle are variations.

Back to top

[Home] [My Genealogy] [Surnames] [Research] [About Me] [Pictures
[Linguistics] [Links] [Contact Me] [Site Map]