[Continuing off-topic - not a surprise on London.pm, I'm sure (I thought Mr.
Cantrell's [ot] the other day denoted 'on-topic' :--)]

> From: Marty Pauley [SMTP:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> In some countries the 'family name' is actually defined by your
> job, location, or other mutable property.  It used to be like that
> in Europe.

Hence names like Smith, Fletcher, Skinner, Mercer, etc. etc. (inc. Bowman).

On a related note, many Jewish surnames are of a similar, central European
origin (the likes of Goldblum (Goldflower), Spielberg (Playhill), Birnbaum
(Peartree) etc.) is that Jews didn't have/use family names (at that time at
least)and, following a change in the law (those Germans again), had to adopt
family names, hence the preponderance of names like those above).

> In other countries the family name changes each generation, so
> taking "Jonathan Peterson" as an example: his father would be
> "Peter <something>" and his children would be "<something>
> Jonathanson".

The same happened in Scotland/Ireland/etc. - Mc/Mac literally means 'Son
of', hence names like MacDonald and Donaldson are essentially the same name.
Irish republicans sometimes reverse the anglicisation of names, hence the
likes of Sean MacStiofain, a senior IRA man, who was originally born in
London as John Stevenson.

In Iceland they append 'son' for sons and 'dottir' for daughters - hence
Magnus Magnusson is the son of Magnus, whilst Sally Magnusson would, in
Iceland at least, be Sally Magnusdottir. 


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