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Encyclopedia of Surnames Paperback – May 29, 2008
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
'An excellent research companion, the book's also an addictive read.' Family History Monthly (Jan 2008) 'This is an interesting, varied collection, and as a bonus Ayto includes notes on famous bearers of many of the names and interesting facts about them - a welcome addition. A book you could spend hours poring over.' Family History Monthly (Autumn 2007) "This book provides an accessible companion to tracing the history of names and is the ideal research tool for anyone interested in tracing their family history" Mid-West Times (March 2008)
About the Author
John Ayto is an experienced lexicographer and author of many language titles including Word Origins. He is Chief Etymologist on the Bloomsbury English Dictionary.
Top customer reviews
Only very common surnames in this book. Very little background info. Irritatingly most last names, instead of deep origins, have names of celebrities and historical, literary subjects next to the name.
I found out more about surnames just asking kids in grade school and people I worked with! I worked with a lady last name Olsen. I asked her if she had Swedish ancestry. She said it was Norwegian since they end their names in "sen" instead of "son." This book so far doesn't clarify that. I have a grandfather names Deskins. I had heard "kins" means a Welsh ancestry. I could only find the name Jenkins and it did not indicate anything Welsh.
I found NO other family names especially my husband's which is Polish/Czech.
A real disappointment. There are better name books out there I'm sure.
Or just ask classmates and fellow workers what their last names mean.
Although there are 6,000 entries, there were many unlisted names. This was disappointing for us but didn't diminish our interest in those that are listed. This is the only publication of this type that I could find.