The Select Surnames Website
What's in a name? More than you might think. Each surname carries an individual history that has been shaped by all the forebears of that name. In palmistry, the left hand usually tells you what you are born with, the right hand what you made on your life. So too with family genealogy. Word origin and DNA will provide a starting point. But the history and events over time can give these names their distinctive characteristics and traits.
This site contains select surnames of English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and other origins. The following are some of the surnames that are covered here:
Cassidy. Cassidy and its variants are anglicized forms of the Gaelic name O'Caiside, a derivative of cas, meaning "curly headed." Their ancient home was Ballicassidy, just north of Enniskillen in county Fermanagh. The 12th century bardic poet Giolla Mochuda Mor O'Casside was famed among the men of learning of his time.
Gould. Gould came from gold and was a nickname for someone with fair or golden hair. It was said that in the time of Shakespeare "gold" was pronounced "gould," which would give one indication as to why the spelling changed. In the 20th century, some Jewish families changed their surname from Gold to Gould.
Nash. The root of "ash" in Nash probably originated as a place name of an ash grove. Robert atten Nash, Robert who lived by the ash, got shortened over time to Robert Nash.
Palmer. In the Middle Ages, when people came back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, they carried palm fronds to show where they had been. The wearing of a badge with palms denoted the sign for people who had made that journey. These pilgrims became known as "palmers." However, not all "palmers" had really been to the Holy Land. There was a very active trade in false souvenirs and the name also came to be applied to a cleric who sold indulgencies.
The table below shows the list of the 100 surnames that are reviewed here.
Site Map: Select Names
Have a look at some of these surnames - other than your own - to see the extent of the rich tapestry of life that can exist in family names.
Each surname on this list includes: a name origin or derivation; a history of the name through time and countries; some notable people who bear this name; and further internet resources on the name (we have only chosen those sites that are readily accessible without charge on the internet).
Enjoy the site!
PS. If your surname does not appear in the list above, you might
to check out the surname page in this
website. It covers surname genealogy for more than 500 surnames. These
surnames are to be found in this and these companion websites:
- Select Surname list. The 100 most common surnames.
- Select Surname. 100
surnames from Ainsworth to York.
surnames from Adams to
- Select Surnames 2. 100
surnames from Archer to Yardley.
- Select Surnames 3. 100 surnames from Abercrombie to Wisdom.
- Select Surnames 4. Surnames from Abraham to Wynn.