History of surnames

Surname Meanings:

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Surname Meanings and Origins
L, M, N, O, P, Q


Lacey is an English and Irish place name of Norman origin, derived from Lassy in Calvados, which got its name from a Gaulish
given name Lascius + -acum (a local suffix). Lacey is most common in Nottinghamshire, but is found all over. Variations are
Lacy, Lassey, De Lacey, De Lacy, Leacy (the last occasionally found in Ireland).

Ladd - from the Welsh word lladd, to destroy

Lamb (English) Dweller at the sign of the lamb; one with some characteristic of a lamb.

Lancaster (English) One who came from Lancaster (Roman camp on the Lun River), the county town of Lancashire.

Langley: (English) One who came from Langley (long wood or clearing), the name of many places in England.

Larrabee: (French) Dweller at the riverbank.

Larsen (Norwegian) The son of Lars or Lawrence (laurel, symbol of victory)

Larson/Larkin/Lawson,/Lorenzo: The name Lawrence was derived from 'laurel' - symbol of victory, and was popularized by St. Lawrence, a papel deacon who was martyred in the Middle Ages. McLaren is the Scottish form of the name, Larson, Larkin , and Lawson are among the English variations and Lorenz is a German form.

Latham: (English) One who came from Latham or Laytham, both in Yorkshire, or Lathom in Lancashire, all three meaning barn enclosure.

Lee/Lea : The surname Lea is derived from the Old English word leah , which meant 'clearing in the woods' and the ending -ley- is the second most common among English surnames. Lee and Lea were also the names of many small towns that were in the valley or the 'clearing in the woods.

Leigh: (English) A variant of Lee

Libby, Libbey: (Scottish, German) Descendant of Ibb, a pet form of Isobel (oath to Baal); a form of Elizabeth (oath of God); the beloved person.

Liddle (English) One who came from Liddel (loud river valley), or dweller at the Liddel River, both in Cumberland.

Lindsey is a spelling variation of Lindsay, an English and Scottish Place name from Lindsey in Lincolnshire, first found in the
form Lindissi , a derivative of the British name Lincoln. The Old English element eg =island was added since the area was
virtually cut off from the surrounding fenland.

Llewellyn (Welsh) Descendant of Llewellyn (Lion-like).

Lloyd is a Welsh nickname for the man with grey hair, or the man who was always seen wearing grey clothing. It comes from
the Welsh word llwyd = grey.

Lockwood: "Enclosed Wood", name of a place in England

Long : English Descriptive name. During early times when surnames were being adopted, the man they called Long was
especially tall and lanky.

Lopez (Spanish) The son of Lope or Lupe (wolf)

Loring: (English) One who came from Lorraine (dominion of King Lothar II), in France; dweller near a laurel tree; descendant of Loren, a pet form of Laurence (laurel).

Lovejoy: (English) One who craved pleasure

Lovell is an English diminutive variant of the name Low, when it meant a crafty or dangerous person, a Nickname derived from the Anglo-Norman French lou = wolf + - el , a diminutive suffix. Lovel and Lowell are variations.

Lundin (Swedish) One who came from Lund (grove), the name of a city and several villages in Sweden.

The family of Lushill or De Lusteshull was of considerable antiquity, long seated in Wiltshire, England. The origin of the family is unknown.

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MacBean: (Scottish) The son of Bean (life)

Madog: (Welsh) Descendant of Madog or Madoc (fortunate).

Marshall : originally cared for the lord's horses, and acted as an early vet and farrier. Later on, the term evolved to describe an official in a noble's household in charge of the military affairs. It's an English Occupational name, either way.

Marti, Marty are cognate forms of the name Martin found in Provencal. Martin is found as an English, French, Scottish, Irish, German, Czech, Flemish, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian Patronymic surname -- derived from the ancient Latin given name Martinus, derived from Mars/Martis , the Roman god of fertility and war. A fourth century saint had the name, and those early saints made for a lot of namesakes. Variations are Marten, Martyn, Martine, Lamartine, Martijn among others.

Massey, Massie: (English, French) One who came from Massey or Macey (Mathieu's farm), in Normandy; descendant of Masso, a pet form of Tomasso (a twin).

Matthews/Mathis : English Patronymic Name...Matthew means 'gift of Yahweh' as does Matthias -- both were popular first names in early times, and it is almost impossible to determine which derivatives came from which name...at any rate, Matthews and Mathews are English Patronymic names (from the father) and Mathis is the German counterpart. Matthews with the double-t was more popular in Wales.

Mauduit: this surname comes from the French for "ill-behaved".

Maule (German, English) One with a large, or animal-like mouth; one who came from Maule (mouth), in France; descendant of Mall, a pet form of Matilda (might, battle)

Maxwell (English) Dweller by th big spring)

McCollough is a variation of the Irish and Scottish name McCulloch, which is an Anglicized form of a Gaelic patronymic name Cullach, from cullach = wild boar. Some families translated the name as Boar rather than Culloch or McCulloch. There is also speculation that the name might be derived from Cu-Uladh , meaning 'Hound of Ulster.' Variations of the name are McCullach, McCullagh, McCully, McCullie , and McCoulie. Thomas Maculagh of Wigtonshire, noted in the year 1296 is the first known bearer of the name in Scotland.

McDonald and McDonell are variations of the same surname, both Scottish Patronymic names derived from the Gaelic -- Mac Dhamhnuill , which means 'son of Domhnall ,' a given name from the Gaelic elements dubno =world + val =rule. Other variations are McDonnell, McDonaill, McDonall , and McDaniel .

McKenney (British) From Mac-Cionaodha (Gaelic), "son of the fire-sprung one"

Meredith (Welsh) Descendant of Maredudd (sea lord).

Michelsson: (Swedish) The son of Michel (who is like God).

Middleton: (English) One who came from Middleton (the middle homestead or village), the name of many villages in England.

Mobley, Moberly: (English) One who came from Mobberley (glade with an assembly mound), in Cheshire.

Monsson: (Swedish, Danish) The son of Mon, a pet form of Magnus (great).

Montacute, Montagu (English) One who came from Montacute or Mont Aigu (peaked hill), in Normandy.

Moody: (English) The bold, impetuous, brave man

Morley (English) One who came from Morley (wood by a marsh), the name of several places in England.

Morrell: (English) The little, dark complexioned man; descendant of Morel (dark complexioned).

Morse: (English) Dweller at or near, a moor or marshy wasteland; the son of Moor (dark complexioned man); one who came from North Africa.

Morrison (English, Scottish) The son of Morris (Moorish, or dark-skinned).

Mortimer: (English) One who came from Mortemer (stagnant water), in Normandy.

Morton is an English and Scottish Place name derived from several places called that, and originated in the Old English elements mor = marsh, fen, moor + tun = enclosure, settlement. It was a name to describe the man who lived at the settlement by the marsh or moor.

Moss and Moses are derived from the Hebrew name Moshe > Moses, the Israelite leader in the Book of Exodus, and linked to the Hebrew word msh = to draw (from the water). Mosse, and Mossman are variations of Moss, which are similar in nature to Moseman.

Mundy (English) Descendant of Monday, a name given to children in the Middle Ages born on a Monday.

Murray: (Scottish) One who came from Moray (beside the sea) in Scotland.

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Neal is an English patronymic name, a variant of the name Neil. This is the way it is usually spelled in Southern and Central England, and is taken from the Middle English form of the name, Neel. Neale and Neall are variations.

Needham is an English place name comprised of the Old English elements ned > Middle English nede = poverty, hardship + ham = homestead. Need is an English nickname for an impoverished person, based on the same origin. Needham would be the homestead of the man nicknamed "Need" or it may have been the "poor homestead."

Neil is a medieval given name which means "Champion" and evolved into an Irish, Scottish, and English surname. It is derived from the given name of Irish origin -- Niall -- and was brought to England by the Scandinavians. Neill, Neild, Neele, Neel, Neeld, Niall, Niell, Nield, Niel, Nihell, Nihill are variations.

Neville, Nevill, Nevil: (English) One who came from Neville, (new town), in Normandy, or Neuville (new town), a common place name in France.

Newby (English) One who came from Newby (the new or recently founded settlement), the name of various places in England.

Newton: (English, Scottish) One who came from Newton (the recently founded homestead), probably the most common English place name, also the name of several places in Scotland.

Nicholson (English) The son of Nichol (people's victory)

Nilson (Danish, Swedish) The son of Nils (champion)

Nilsen, Nilsson: Scandinavian forms of Neilson

Norbury: (English) One who came from Norbury (northern fort), the name of several places in England.

The man who came from the North country during medieval times was described as norð or norðer (that -d like character is called eth, and pronounced like -th). Norris is an English descriptive name for people who lived originally in Scandinavia, Scotland, or sometimes -- just the north of England. Occasionally, Norris is derived from a compound, from Old English norð + hus = house. It described the man who lived in a house at the north end of the settlement. Sometimes Norris is taken from Old French nurice = nurse, and was an occupational name for a wetnurse or foster mother.

Most of the names that begin with NOR- are derived from the name North, which described the man who lived north of the main settlement, or in the north part of the village. Occasionally, it described the man who had emigrated from another land to the North.

Norton (English) One who came from Norton (the homestead or village north of another), the name of several villages in England.

Norwich (English) One who came from Norwich (north town), in Cheshire.

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Ogilvy (Scottish) One who came from the barony of Ogilvie (high hill), in the parish of Glamis, in Angus.

Olsen (Scandinavian). From Oleifir (Old Norse), son of Olaf (ancestor's relic)

Osgood (British) The name Osgood is of Saxon or Norse origin and in derivation. The syllable "Os" meaning, in Anglo-Saxon, "God". The other syllable (good) meaning simply "good". The name is found in several forms (most before the Norman
Conquests), such as Osgod, Osgot, Osgotus, Osegod, Ossgood and Osgood. It can also mean "Pagan god" from Old Norse Asgautr.

Overton: (English) One who came from Overton (homestead on a riverbank or ridge), the name of several places in England.

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Page: (English) A male servant of the lowest grade, an attendant.

Pahlsson: (Swedish) The son of Pahl (the bold, audacious man)

Palmer is an English nickname for the man who had been on a pilgramage to the Holy Land, from Middle English, Old French
palmer, paumer (they generally brought back a palm branch as proof of the journey's success).

Parker : English Occupational name for the man who was the gamekeeper at the medieval park.

Payne : is a derivative of Pain, which is an English Patronymic name from the Middle English given name Pain. It comes from
the Old French Paien , which came from Latin Paganus -- where pagus meant outlying village. Pain was a person who lived in an outlying area.

Pearce : and its variations: Pearce, Pearse, Piers, Peers, Perce, Persse, Perris , (and others) are derived from the English given name Piers, which is a form of the name Peter.

Peavey: (English) One who came from Pavie, In France.

Peche: (English) One who came from Pech or Peche (peach), in Normandy; dweller at, or on, a peaked hill.

Pedersen: (Danish) the son of Peder (rock).

Pelham: (English) One who came from Pelham (Peola's homestead), in Hertfordshire.

Pennington (English) One who came from Pennington (village that had to pay a penny tribute, or the village of Pinna's people), the name of several villages in England.

Percy (English) One who came from Perci or Percy (Persius' estate), in Normandy.

Perez (Spanish) The son of Pero, a per from of Pedro (rock).

Perkins (Welsh) The son of little Pier, a pet form of Peter (rock).

Persson: (Swedish) The son of Per (rock).

Peters (Welsh, English) The son of Peter (rock)

Petersson: (Swedish) The son of Peter (rock)

Pierson (English) The son of Piers, early English form of Peter (rock).

Pine is the English place name that described the man who lived near a conspicuous pine tree, or grove of pines, from Old English pin = pine > Latin pinus. Occasionally, it may have been a nickname for the tall, thin man who resembled such a tree (those green arms may have had something to do with that -- kidding ...) Pyne is a variation. Cognates and Diminutive forms also exist for the name.

Pomeroy is a French Place name given to the person from any of the several locations in France by that name, generally spelled similar to pomeroie , which was Old French for 'apple orchard.' The Pomeroy family of Devon can trace their heritage to a close associate of William the Conqueror, Ralph de la Pomerai, whose descendants lived for over 500 years in a castle near Totnes, Devon.

Pooler is likely an Anglicized spelling of the German Pfuhler, or a variation of the English surname Pool. Pfuhler is the Germanic version of Pool, which is a place name that described the man who lived by a pool of water, or pond. Among the Dutch, Pool is an ethnic name that described the man from Poland. English variations are Poole, Poolman, Polman .

Prescott: (English) One who came from Prescot (priest's cottage), the name of places in Lancashire and Oxfordshire; dweller at or near the priest's cottage.

Preston is a Northern English Place name from the numerous locations, (including Lancashire) derived from Old English preost
= Priest + tun = enclosure, used to described a village held by the church or village with a priest.

Proctor is an English occupational name that described the steward, and is a contracted form of the Old French word
procurateour < Latin procurator = agent. The term was used for solicitors, and officials such as collectors of taxes, and agents
licensed to collect alms for lepers and monks.

Proude (English)  described the man considered to be vain, or haughty-acting. It is derived from Middle English prod, prud = proud.

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