Symbol Series 2: Place Names

nameAs you read in yesterday’s post, the historical past for many names began as meaningful words for occupations. Joe the Baker became Joe Baker. His son Joe Jr. might have been called Joe Bakerson. The Bakers throughout Europe became Bakker, Bager, Pagar, Boulange, Besitzer, Panettiere, Rzecz, Padeiro, Mierii, Panadero, and Pobydd. Interesting, huh? I really never gave it much thought until my husband developed his genealogy hobby. Hobbyists like him hunt down clues as they relate to their family’s past. It’s amazing, all he’s uncovered.

Onomastics ~ What’s in a name?

When you examine names you delve into a field of study called Onomastics. The onomast is devoted to the origin, use, and history of names for people, places, and things– essentially  all the  nouns of language. Peeking under the large umbrella of Onomastics, we see other fields of study associated with it. Quite a few actually.

Anthropologists, archaeologists, and sociologists study names to learn about human societies, past civilizations, or to look for evidence of social change, while historians also study names for evidence of settlement areas and migration patterns. There’s even a branch of name study called philology that looks to names for clues regarding lost or early languages. Lexicographers also study names for the words and word meanings they are comprised of. Geographers comb names for evidence of early landscapes.

Geography and lexicography is what I’m using today to delve into place names, also known 29769510_122133430914as toponyms. Two obvious surnames for people who lived by water are Brookes and Rivers. Below are toponyms for four key geographic features. I’m only giving a short list of place names for each as I can’t possibly list them all without spending days to do it. Too many prefixes of Ab, Di, Du, O’, Fitz and suffixes such as son, sen, dze and ski. Many surnames have both.

Arroyo, Hooker, Horne, Beeks, Bach, Bachmeier, Burnes, Beverly, Bachmann, Puro, Head, Ruisseau, Patak, Crawford, Ford, Ewart, Daugherty, Rzecz, Marsh, Sanka, Moeras, Marais, Marécage, Sumpflander, Sands, Sandford, Seymore, DiPalude, Beck, Brooke, Pantano, Acquitrino, Lavlanderson Baader, Lago, Ware, Dalgalar, Walton, Blackburn, Poole, Meer, Newport, Lamar, Eau Claire, Rush, Llyn, Vance, Witmore

Dyffryn, Valle, Vale, Dale, Dolina, Wied, Slėnis, Valatti, Gleann, Glen, Glenn, Ebene, Laakso, Dahl, Craft, Bently, Combs, Coombs, Dean, Harden, Harley, Marsden, Ogden, Stainthorpe, Westley, Summerfield, Winterbottom

Mountains and hilly ground
Fjell, Hora, Bjerg, Brandon, Berg, Berger, Mägi, Vuori, Montagne, Monceau, Montana, Montagna, Monte, Haight, Bray, Hull, Huff, Brent, Hyland, Hill, Radcliffe, Hills, Kulle, Colline, Colina, Wzgórze, Helling, Haug, Heuvel, Attenberg, Cantrell, Downs, Downer, Harlow, Underhill, Salita, Winslow

Forest, woodlands, and fields
Houtman, Ash, Greene, Hollins, Holt, Ashe, Holly, Beasley, Boyce, DuBois, Buckley, Delaney, Fay, Shiel, Forrester, Haywood, Lockewood, Woods, Wood, Hurst, Garland, Gore, Hayward, Hays, Hayland, Rhodes, Roscoe, Selby, Shaw, Stroud, Timberlake, Vernon, Timberlane, Wooton, Woodward, York

That’s just a drop in the ocean of names. If you’d like to see what your own surname means, try Your name just may be a toponym too.

Tomorrow ~ More!


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January
“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”
~Ruth Stout


RB4U purpleToday is Author Paris Brandon’s blog day.
Authors and Industry representatives all month long.

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
The January contest starts soon. Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items.


About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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