GENIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > GENIRE > 2003-03 > 1046996370
From: (Robert J. Widenmann)
Subject: Re: "SURNAMES" - When did this practice start????
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 01:19:30 +0100
References: <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
Sean MacLochlainn <> wrote:
> Sean MacLochlainn wrote:
> > ...The first
> > Irish surname was O Cleirigh, attested in 976 AD
> ...I believe this makes it the oldest surname in Europe.
In Denmark, if this can be of any interest, surnames began to be used in
larger towns and cities by wealthier middle class people in the 1500s,
but it did not come into general practice until the latter part of the
19th century, when the government stepped in making a family surname
mandatory. Until then the surname changed from generation to generation
and even within a given generation, while women kept their original
surname when married. Most people had in fact only one name, their call
name (f.ex. Peter or Karen), using their surname only when needed to
distinguish one person from another with the same call name.
To reply by email, substitute maribob for merrybob.