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The Origin Of Names

Updated on April 20, 2014

Everything has an origin!

1 Corinthians 11:12 says: “For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.” And one of the things that all people and places have in common is "names" Exodus 3:14-15 says: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.”

God also said to Moses: “Say to the Israelites, The LORD, the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”




And from generation to generation is also passed down a surname also known as a last name or family name. One of the very first cultures to adopt the use of hereditary surnames was the Chinese. In Europe, they were used until the 10th or 11th centuries AD in Venice.

Origin of names

Everything has an origin as well as our names. The curiosity of knowing where our name comes from is found among most people. Some people will try to look at least for the definition of their names. This happens because of the importance that our names have since the influence in us even affects what we do in life. It is interesting that by the time people are 4 months old, they will recognize their own name.

Where does your name come from?


Geographic surroundings or location

The place where a person came from also became a way to distinguish one man from his neighbor, as well as If they lived near a stream, cliff, forest, hill, or other geographic feature, this might be used to describe them. Examples of these are: Atwood, Eastman, Westwood, Brooks, Churchill, Paris, etc.

Does your last name come from a geographic surrounding or location? Find out in the link under the earth picture.

Patronymic and matronymic

Last names derived from a father's name are called "patronymic" and when they come from the mother they are called "matronymic". Such names were formed by adding a prefix or suffix denoting either "son of" or "daughter of." Examples of this would be: Johnson (the son of John) or MacDonald (son of Donald).

Here in Puerto Rico we use both last names because we honor our father and mother. The man is the head of the family and it will be used as the first surname, but our second last name which is our mother's will always be written. Women in Puerto Rico do not use their husband's last name like in the USA.

Birth certificate


Derived from characteristics

Surnames derived from a physical appearance or other characteristic based on personalities are thought to have originally evolved as nicknames during the Middle Ages. Examples:Strong, Black, Broadhead, Baines, Goodman, Armstrong, etc.

Changing birth name

Wherever your name comes from it defines your origin and the best of it is that you could change it legally if for some reason it affects your life. Follow these steps I found, making sure you stay with copies of all your records:

  1. Select a name
  2. Get the forms to fill out, like: a petition, an order granting change of name, a legal backer form, a notice of petition to the public, an affidavit of consent, an affidavit of service of notification to authorities.
  3. Get the forms notarized, or signed by court clerk
  4. Submit your paperwork to the appropriate office
  5. Wait for approval
  6. Put an add announcing your name change
  7. Fill out the affidavit and return it the court clerk
  8. Wait for the order granting change of name
  9. Take your new ID to all the departments which identifies your personality, like: social security, drivers licenses and birth certification

Do you like your name?

See results

Final words

Whoever gave you your name, I would bet there is a reason in back of it. I suggest to consider seeking origins and meanings before selecting a name.

Blessings to all!

© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

At your name

© 2012 Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill


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    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Thank you very much TIMETRAVELER2. You have wondered how those changes have affected your life... I have been reading some of your hubs, I think that every detail in our life affects us in one way or the other but, our actions will talk if we made them good or wrong by the results we present. Your profile and writings says that you have gained strength and experiences that nourish us. Blessings!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

      This was very interesting. I knew some of it already, but there were some points you made that I hadn't considered. Since I have had 4 different last names over the years, I have wondered how those changes have affected my life. I think they have, to a certain extent. Would love to hear what you have to say about that! Also, as a former ESOL teacher, I can tell you you've done well with your second language. I want to read more so I'll be following and I'm glad I found you.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      lj gonya, thanks for the comment. I agree with the scammers you mentioned...good advice.

    • lj gonya profile image

      lj gonya 5 years ago

      Good hub. I've been doing genealogy most of my life,and some names are definitely easier to figure out than others. Newbies to genealogy should also be warned that there are a lot of scammers out there who will offer to sell you the meaning of your name and your coat of arms.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Ok you are in Puerto use the Boudonck...not me!

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 5 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      What a great hub Maria Ruiz O'Farrill Boudonck(lol).

      Yep I'm in Puerto Rico--so is my name now Greg Boudonck Tilton?

      I bet this hub will get a lot of attention. Good writing and very interesting!!