Book number: 92203 Product format: Hardback Author: NEIL BURDESS

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Bibliophile price £6.00
Published price £14.99

'The Remarkable Story of Personal Names' is the sub-title of this book that covers not just given names to a child but family names or surnames and social titles Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms and a quick peep at professional or entertainment names like Marilyn. Today parents aim to give their children distinctive names and there are wide variations between societies about when a child is given a name, who has the right to name a child, how the name is chosen, and what name is given. Some governments require parents to choose from a list of approved names and there are tens of thousands of given names, one book listing an incredible 140,000 names from Aabha to Zywona for girls, and from Aaban to Zy-Yon for boys. The book groups traditional names that go back many centuries and ends with new names from new words and takes a look at the influences on name givers and that only a few hundred years ago many names were used for both boys and girls. Other influences on name giving are less obvious, such as how names trickle down from the rich to the poor, and how there are fashions in names. Surnames are handed down from one generation to the next, and in Britain they go back nearly 1,000 years. Tom the blacksmith might be called Tom Smith and if his son Dick was a miller, he might be Dick Miller. Smith still remains the top surname in both the US and Britain, and in Wales, Jones is the unchallenged number one. Other surnames are becoming less common, the most obvious ones the embarrassing ones like Smellie, Daft, Balls and Bottom, names which in the past had different, unexceptional meanings. Migrants from non-English-speaking countries traditionally changed their surnames to help them fit more easily into their new country. There is also the custom of a wife changing her surname to that of a husband. A name gives you a good deal of information about a person and titles refer to a person's occupation, rank or qualification. Alternative spellings for surnames are fascinating, and in all, this is a rich and interesting history about names, identity and identification. 307pp.

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ISBN 9781910985328

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