A Butcher, Baker or Candlestick Maker?

There was a time when what you did became who you are.

In a way, our jobs define us. When meeting new people the question “What do you do?” inevitably comes up.

A medieval baker with his apprentice. The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medieval_baker.jpg

A medieval baker with his apprentice. The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medieval_baker.jpg

Many of today’s last names come from trades or jobs our ancestors had – also called occupational surnames.

Think of Baker (makes bread/baked goods), Miller (mills grain into flour), Smith (blacksmith/metalsmith), Tanner (tans hides to make leather) or Taylor (makes clothing).

These names are so commonplace that we don’t stop to think about where they came from and what they mean.

Many trades were passed down from father to son. So, our names are carrying on the legacy of our forefathers.

Over the years names change and can take on different forms with different spellings. Other variations of Smith:

Here’s an interesting article that looks at English occupational surnames and how they originated.

According to the article English Surnames – Meanings & Origins, the eleventh century was the earliest surnames were used in England. The article also defines the top 100 English surnames.

If you were wondering – a candlestick maker’s last name would be Chandler.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s