Local surname

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Surnames derived from placenames may be divided into two broad categories: topographic names and habitation names. These terms have been used throughout this work in preference to the traditional but vaguer term ‘local name’. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream, or a church. Habitation names are derived from preexisting names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads, or other named habitations. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions, and whole countries. As a general rule, the further someone had traveled from his place of origin, the broader the designation. Someone who stayed at home might be known by the name of his farm or locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another country could acquire the name of the country or region from which he originated.

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