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Surname Etymology

Etymology is that branch of science which deals with the history of words, tracing their origin, primitive significance, and changes of meaning. The following text describes the etymology of some of the surnames found in my family tree.

My sources for this information are provided at the bottom of this page.  They may be available at your local library.  I do not have these references, so please DO NOT ask for look ups.

Origin: Irish. Derived from the Gaelic name Ó Ceallagcháin, meaning "descendant of Ceallanchán" which is derived from words meaning contention and strife.

Origin: English, Irish. English: transformation of Kerr. Irish: 1) derived from the Gaelic name Ó Carra, meaning "descendant of Carra" a name meaning spear. 2) a transformation of the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Chathair, meaning "son of the servant Cather", a name derived from the word "cath", meaning battle.

Origin: Irish. Derived from the Gaelic name Ó Dalaigh, meaning "descendant of Dálach", which is derived from the word "dal", meaning assembly.

Origin: Welsh. Derived from the first name Ifan, a cognate of John (gracious gift of Jehovah).

Origin: Irish, Scottish. Transformation of FRASER.  The name was given to those who came from Friesland, a place in Holland (a Frisian).

Origin: German. One who was bold or keen; descendant of KUHN, a pet form of Kunrat, German form of Conrad ( bold, counsel ). Spelling variations include KUHNE, KUEHN, KUHNS.

Origin: English, Irish, Jewish, Scottish, Welsh. English: derived from the Norman first names Lowis and Lowowicus which comprise the Germanic components "hlod" and "wig," meaning fame and war. Irish, Scottish: derived from the Gaelic name Mac Lughaidh which was derived from the first name Lughaidh, derived from Lugh, the name of a Celtic god meaning "brightness". Jewish: transformation of Levin or an Anglicization of similar-sounding Jewish surnames. Scottish: the name was given to those from Lewis, a Hebridean Island. Welsh: transformation of the Welsh name Llywelyn, which was probably derived from the word "llyw" meaning leader.

Origin: English, Irish. English: derived from Middle English word "rush", meaning the marshy plant. The name was given to those who lived near a mass of rushes. Irish: derived from the Gaelic name Ó Ruis, which was derived from the first name Ros.

Origin: Irish. 1) derived from the Gaelic name Ó Riain, meaning "descendant of Rian or Riaghan", a first name of uncertain etymology. 2) derived from the name Mulryan, which was derived from the Gaelic name Ó Maolchaoine, meaning "descendant of the devotee (St.) Riaghan, a name of uncertain etymology.

Origin: Polish: derived from the surname Scibinski, a transformation of the surname Skibinski, which was derived from the Polish root _skiba_, which can mean "furrow, ridge," or "piece of bread." This specific name probably referred to a family's origin in a particular place; logically, it could mean "one from Skibin or Skibina or Skibno."

Origin: German. Transformation of the surname Schultz, derived from the Middle High German word "schulteize" meaning the person in charge of collecting payments on behalf of the lord of the manor. The name was given to the head of a village. Variations include SCHULTZ, SCHULTZE, SCHULZ, SCHULTS, and SHULTS.

Origin: Belorussian, Czech, English, French, Jewish, Polish. Derived from the Latin word "urbanis", meaning one who lives in a city.

Origin: English, Scottish. Watkin: derived from the Middle English first name Wat(t), a shortened version of Walter. Watkins: transformation of Watt.

Origin: German, Danish. German: transformation of YEAGER. Spelling variations include YAEGER, JÄGER, JAEGER. The name was given to those who were hunters. Danish: JAEGER; Cognate to the German surname JÄGER, which was derived from the word "jagen", meaning to hunt.


1. Encyclopedia of American Family Names, H. Amanda Robb and Andrew Chesler
2. New Dictionary of American Family Names, Elsdon C. Smith
3. William F. Hoffman, author of Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings


Questions or Comments?  Feel free to contact web site author, Chuck Shultz.