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:

Armstrong.  Armstrong, as its name suggests, describes someone who is strong in the arm.  According to legend, an ancient king of Scotland, aided in battle by his armor-bearer Fairbairn, bestowed on him the name of Armstrong.  The Armstrongs were a fearsome reiver clan of the Scottish borders.  

.  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, which is 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 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.  

.  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

Adams Cohen Harding McDonald Reynolds
Armstrong Corbett Harmer Meredith Richardson
Bacon Crawford Harris Mitchell Rooney
Baldwin Crowther Hayward Moore Sawyer
Bannister Doyle Henderson Murray  
Bartlett Drake Hepburn Myers Sheraton
Bennett Driscoll Higgins Nash Spencer
Booth Ellis Hilton Newton Swan
Bowles Fitzgerald Holmes
Nightingale Sykes
Brett Fleming  Hopkins Oakes Tattersall      
Burden/Borden Foster Hudson Osborne Todd
Fox Jackson Palin
Carpenter Fraser Jefferson Palmer Vaughan
Carter Fry Jenner Pascoe Wade
Cassidy Fuller Lofthouse  Perry/Parry        
Cavendish Gallagher        
Lynch  Pertwee Warren  
Chapman Goodwin Maloney Powell Washington
Chisholm Gould Marriott Pratt Webster
Clay Grant Maynard          
Probyn Witherspoon
Clinton Hancock McCarthy Quayle Wyatt 

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!

Colin Shelley

PS.  If your surname does not appear in the list above, you might want to check out the surname page in this website.  It covers surname genealogy for more than 800 surnames.  These surnames are to be found in this and these companion websites: