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Discover the origin and meaning of over 2 billion last names and first names

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List of surnames

Alphabetical order of last names

Explore our vast database to discover the origin and meaning of last names from around the world. Each name has a unique story to tell.

List of first names

Alphabetical order of first names

Discover the origin and meaning of popular and rare first names. Our database contains information on thousands of first names from around the world.

List of celebrity names

Alphabetical order of celebrity names

Browse our list of celebrities to discover the origin and meaning of your favorite stars' last names.

The first surnames: historical context

The origin of surnames dates back to the Middle Ages, where there was a growing need to differentiate individuals. During that time, populations were increasing, and baptismal names were often repeated. To avoid confusion, nicknames were gradually assigned to individuals, which later became the first surnames.

Examples of surname origins

Examples of first name origins

Examples of Celebrity Name Origins

Origin of occupation-related surnames

Among the most common surnames, there are those that are related to the professions practiced by ancestors. For example, names like Boulanger, Meunier, or Forgeron reflect the occupations of their ancestors.

Surnames related to geography

Many surnames originate from the residence place of ancestors. These names can be derived from names of villages, regions, or geographical features. For example, Dupont denotes a person living near a bridge, while Lefèvre may mean 'resident near the forest'.

Surnames linked to physical or moral characteristics

Some surnames come from nicknames related to the physical appearance or character traits of ancestors. Names like Petit, Legrand, or Lebrun are good examples of this.

Finding the origin of surnames

To learn more about the origin and history of your own surname, you can consult genealogical archives, parish registers, and historical documents. Specialized genealogy websites also offer valuable resources to assist you in your research.

The importance of knowing the origin of your family name

Understanding the origin of your last name allows you to:

  • - Discover your roots and your family heritage
  • - Learn more about the history of your ancestors and their journeys
  • - Understand the ties that unite your family across generations
  • - Share these stories and knowledge with your family members

In summary, studying the origins of last names provides us with valuable insight into our family history and heritage. It is an exciting journey that allows us to better understand our past and strengthen family bonds.

Changes of surnames and first names

Name and first name changes are sometimes made for various reasons, ranging from adopting a new first name more in line with the person's identity, to wanting to break away from a difficult past. The first name given at birth can reflect the geographical origin, beliefs, or preferences of the parents. A first name guide can be consulted to better understand the meanings, origins, and connotations associated with each first name. It is important to consider the taste, strengths, and potential flaws of a first name before choosing it, to ensure that it matches the character and aspirations of the child. Finally, the origin of family names can also be studied to better understand family history and how it has influenced first name choices over generations.

How to make a free family tree?

To create a free family tree, start by gathering the necessary information about your family. Then, use specialized websites offering free family tree templates. Additionally, consult online civil registers, often accessible for free, to find unknown ancestors. Moreover, do not hesitate to ask for help from your relatives to complete missing data. Finally, organize and present your research in a clear and understandable format to share your family's history.

Exploring family roots: the importance of the geographical origin of names

The origin of surnames is often linked to the geographical origin of ancestors. Thus, some names evoke specific places. Other times, they may reflect professions practiced or physical characteristics. Consequently, studying surnames allows for a better understanding of family roots and past migrations. Moreover, this offers a fascinating insight into the history and culture of our ancestors, enriching our own identity.

The transmission of family names

In Italy and Belgium, a legitimate child must carry the father's name. The term 'patronymic' is defined as the family name, derived from the Latin pater for 'father'. The matronymic, transmitted by the mother, comes from mater. Since 2006 in Luxembourg, the child carries the father's name, the mother's name, or a combination of both. In Spain, a legitimate child carries the names of both parents. In England and Wales, parents choose the name passed on to the legitimate child. In Germany and Denmark, the legitimate child carries the family name of the parents and, in the absence of a common name, the parents choose which one to transmit. In France, the law of 04/03/2002, published in the Official Journal of 05/03/2002 and effective from 01/01/2005, reformed the transmission of family names by integrating the possibility of transmitting the mother's name.