History of Campbell County, Tennessee
 

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SURNAMES AND THEIR ORIGIN

By Dallas Bogan

Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan. 

     As a multa-national country, we are inclined to have a vast mixture of names. Every nationality has its own personal names, and the joining of two or more nationalities greatly increases the number of such names in a country. The population of the United States is made up primarily of people from European countries and their associated names, thus constituting a multitude of surnames.

     The word "surname" is defined as an additional name given to the first name, or a given last name. These surnames originated as descriptions of the person for reasons of better identification. They described one individual and not his whole family.

     By the end of the fourteenth century, English surnames were generally hereditary. However, in France the process evolved a little later, and in Germany, a little later, yet. The population of Venice adopted a hereditary surname system during the tenth and eleventh centuries, they being the first in Europe. Countries such as Norway, Sweden, Turkey, and the mountainous regions of Wales and Scotland, adopted the present system in more recent times.

     Nobles and landowners, in most countries, were the first to adopt the hereditary name system. Many in this societal pattern adopted their surnames from the lands they held, and thus the sons inherited the land as well as the name. The same is true of occupational names such as Smith, Turner, Carpenter, etc.

     The son generally adopted the surname of the lower class, or occupational class, since he learned or followed his father's trade. The occupational name could be said to have been inherited only when the son followed another trade, but still retained his father's surname.

     As per the Middle Ages, while a man lived in a town or village, that town or village would be a source for everyone's name. As the individual left his birthplace or village and moved to another location, he would be called by the village or land so named. The spelling of the surname generally changed along with the spelling of the town name in most cases.
In English speaking countries the freedom of choice often led to a surname being used as a first name. The first name, or Christian name, for a long period of time, was the only one recognized by law, and the additional name was merely a word or description to identify one person from another of the same given name.

     Personal characteristics have led to the growth of many English names such as Long, Longman, Longfellow, Short, Small, Strong and Gray. Also complexions have contributed their share such as Black, Brown, White, but the name Green has come from the village green, or grassy ground.

     Many British geographical names have also been inherited as surnames such as Ross, Carlisle, Lincoln, and Wells, which are towns in England. From Wales we have the surnames of Wales, Welsh, Walsh and Wallis.

     A description of the situation or the locality could have led to the two name system, such as John at the mill, or John Mill. Other similar incidents could have led to the names of Hill, Dale, Wood, Forest, Greathouse, Parks, Marsh, Pond, Ford, etc.

     I shall now attempt to identify some Campbell County names and their origin. Many spelling versions are slightly moderated, but most are synonymous with their identity.

     LEACH, English name, it meaning dweller at or near the Leach (stream), a river in Gloucestershire, a bloodletter or physician. ADKINS, English name, meaning red earth, red; DAUGHERTY, Irish name, meaning unfortunate. MARLOW, English name, one who came from Marlow (lake remains), in Buckinghamshire; dweller at the hill by the lake. WARD, English name, guard, keeper, or watchman; dweller near a marsh. BULLOCK, English name, dweller at the sign of the young bull; one with some quality of a young bull. HEATHERLY, English name, dweller in the thin wood where low shrubs or heather grew; one who came from Hatherleigh (thorn wood), in Devonshire. ROACH , (Roche, Roch, Rocher) French and English name, dweller near a rock; one who came from Roche (rock) in Cornwall or from Roche (rock), the name of many places in France. SHARP, English name, an acute, keen-witted or quick person. GOINS, (Goines, Goinges, Goin), French name, meaning God's friend. MILLER, English name, one who grinds grain.

     PHILLIPS, Welsh and English name, one who loves horses. COOPER, English name, one who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs. COKER, English name, one who came from Coker (water) in Somerset, a hay worker. HAINES, English name, one who came from Haynes (enclosures), in Bedfordshire; dweller near the hedged enclosures. HALE, Welsh and English name, dweller at the corner, nook, small hollow, or secret place, name of several places in England. NICKELSON, Swedish and Norway name, Scandinavian form of Nicholas (people's victory). JACKSON, English name, a pet form of John (gracious gift of Jehovah). RAY, English name, one who played the part of the king in play or pageant; one who was connected in some way with a king's household. MAXWELL, English and Scottish name, dweller by the big spring.
As one may guess, Campbell County names just keep on-a-goin'. Perhaps at another time we shall continue on this subject

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