Origin and Meaning of Family Surnames

BENNETT - English: from the medieval personal name Benedict (Latin Benedictus meaning ‘blessed’). In the 12th century the Latin form of the name is found in England alongside versions derived from the Old French form Beneit, Benoit, which was common among the Normans. See also Benedict.

BRANDSTETTER - German: habitational name for someone from any of the many places called Brandstatt, Brandstädt, Brandstätt, Brandstett, and Brandstetten, all from element meaning ‘place cleared by burning’.

CLELLAND - Scottish and Irish: reduced form of McClelland. Scottish: habitational name from Clelland near Motherwell, probably named with Old English clg ‘clay’ + land ‘land’

CROSSLAND - English (chiefly West Yorkshire): habitational name from a place in the parish of Almondbury, West Yorkshire, named Crosland, from Old English cros ‘cross’ + land ‘newly cultivated land’.

DOUGLAS - Scottish: habitational name from any of the various places called Douglas from their situation on a river named with Gaelic dubh ‘dark’, ‘black’ + glas ‘stream’ (a derivative of glas ‘blue’). There are several localities in Scotland and Ireland so named, but the one from which the surname is derived in most if not all cases is 20 miles south of Glasgow, the original stronghold of the influential Douglas family and their retainers.

FATE - Fait, Faight, Faith, Feit, Feidt, Feight. In some regions the name is pronounced with a long "a". In other regions it's pronounced with the long "i" sound. In the German language the F and V are often interchangeable. So Veit, Viet and Veitt are also possible origins of the name. The "ai" letter combination is rare in the German language, so names containing these combinations are probably a product of translation. In the case of Fait and several other variants, they are sometimes of French origin rather than Germanic.

HARP - English & Scottish variations: Harper, Harpour, Harpur. Occupational for a player of the harp. A harper was one of the most important figures of the medieval baronial hall, especially in Northern England and Scotland. (Hanks & Hodges, p.241)

HERBERT - German, Dutch, English, and French: from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements heri, hari ‘army’ + berht ‘bright’, ‘famous’. In Britain, this Old French name, introduced by the Normans, reinforced the less common Old English cognate Herebeorht. The surname was taken to Ireland after the Anglo-Norman invasion and in the 16th century.

JOHNSON - English and Scottish: patronymic from the personal name John. As an American family name, Johnson has absorbed patronymics and many other derivatives of this name in continental European languages.

KINNISON - variant of Cunieson, a patronymic from the personal name Conan, which was borne by an illegitimate son of Henry, Duke of Atholl, from whom many bearers are descended.

LUTES - English: apparently a patronymic from Lute. LUTE - English: from an Old Norse personal name and byname Lútr (meaning ‘stooping’).

MAXEY - English: habitational name from a place in Northamptonshire, so named from the genitive case of the northern English personal name Mack + Old English eg ‘island’, ‘low-lying land’. Irish: variant of Mackesy, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Macasa ‘descendant of Macus’, a personal name which is probably a form of Magnus.

MCFARLAND: McFarland is from the Gaelic Mac Pharlain meaning "son of Parlan", which comes from the Old Irish name Partholon, often translated "Bartholomew" (from Rneill/clan.html on internet). Known in Scotland principally as Mac Farlane, it became in Ireland more well known as McFarland. Spelling varies, especially in 17th and 18th century documents: McFarland, MacFarlane, McFarlaine, McParland, McParlin, McPartland, McPharland, or even as simply Farland or Parland. In Ireland, the 'c' in mc, may be spelled " ' ", e.g.: M'Farland.

PURCELL - English, Welsh, and Irish (of Norman origin): from Old French pourcel ‘piglet’ (Latin porcellus, a diminutive of porcus ‘pig’), hence a metonymic occupational name for a swineherd, or a nickname, perhaps affectionate in tone. This is a common surname in Ireland, having become established there in the 12th century.

SYKES - English (mainly Yorkshire): topographic name for someone who lived by a stream in a marsh or in a hollow, from Middle English syke ‘marshy stream’, ‘damp gully’, or a habitational name from one of the places named with this word, in Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

TRUMAN - English (mainly East Midlands): variant spelling of Trueman.

TRUEMAN - English (common especially in the Midlands): nickname for a trustworthy man, from Middle English trewe, trow ‘faithful’ + man ‘man’. This was apparently also used as a personal name during the Middle Ages, and some instances of the surname may derive from this use.

UNDERWOOD - English and Scottish: topographic name for someone who lived near or in a wood, from Middle English under + wude, wode ‘wood’, or a habitational name from any of various places so named, for example in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and the former county of Ayrshire (from Old English under + wudu).

WATSON - Scottish and northern English: patronymic from the personal name Wat (see Watt).

WATT Scottish and English: from an extremely common Middle English personal name, Wat(t), a short form of Walter. WALTER German, Swedish, and English: from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements wald ‘rule’ + heri, hari ‘army’. The personal name was introduced into England from France by the Normans in the form Walt(i)er, Waut(i)er.

WHALEY: Derived from the residence of its first bearers in the parish of Whalley, Lancashire, England. It is found on ancient records in the various forms of Whalley, Wallley, Whaly, Whalle, Waley, and Wale, of which the first is the form most frequently used in America today. Families of this name were to be found at early dates in the English counties of Lancaster, Leicester, York, Nottingham, Stafford, Chest, Sussex, Kent, Somerset, Hants, and London, and were, for the most part, of the landed gentry of yeomanry of Great Britain.

WITTEN - North German: patronymic from Witte.