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Home >> Name Meanings

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My Family Names
Origin of Surnames
Naming Systems/Patters


Coming Soon

Surname Meanings for:

• Bashford
• Cousin
• Ferguson
• Stoddart



As with many people who start on their family tree, once I worked out were we come from, I wanted to understand why we are called what we are.

It is not known when humans first began using names though the practice is certainly very old, probably extending far into prehistory.

Although all cultures use names, naming customs vary greatly from people to people. In some cases they are very simple, such as those of many Indonesians who use just a single name. On the other hand, traditional Chinese naming practices were very complex. Chinese males were given different names at various points in their lives, in addition to a surname and sometimes a generation name.

Names serve several purposes. Most importantly they help distinguish us from one another. Imagine how difficult it would be to refer to people if we did not use names. Instead of saying Bob one would have to say something like the short red-headed man who lives down the street. Some names carry information about our roots, such as family or clan names. They are generally inherited. Names can serve other purposes as well, such as the Chinese generation name which identifies the generation of the bearer, or the names used by some African cultures which describe the order in which siblings were born. Given names, what westerners call first names, are generally bestowed at some point after the birth of the child.

In this section of the site, you can:

  Find out more about etymology - the study of origin and meaning of word.
  Check out information about where and when practice of using surnames originated.
  Learn more about naming systems - understanding the patterns people used to name their children assists in family research, especially when you hit those major roadblocks.
  Discover the etymology of Surnames in my family tree
  Find out about Coats of Arms and Tartan, where they come from and who should 'rightly' use them

The related links section (left) provides some excellent reference sites for name meanings. These sites provide a mixture of first and surname meanings across a variety of different cultures, and have been invaluable in compiling this research


Check out some photos below

family photos


Related Links

§ Behind the name - contains both surnames & first names
By Any Other Name
§ Family Chronicles Surname Origin List
§ Welsh Naming Practices
§ CPROOTS Naming Systems





Page Last Updated: June 13, 2006

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