If you wonder when surnames became first names for baby girls and baby boys, you have only to look to the 19th Century. At least, that is when the major trend of using surnames for first names became popular.
The idea behind giving a child a family name as a first name was to announce that he or she was part of a larger family. This ensured that the child would inherit the family’s wealth later on.
Often, a name such as Tiffany started out as a first name, then became a surname, and later was adopted as a first name again.
For now, let us look at a few beautiful first names and their meanings that are really surnames.
Walker – (English) meaning “One who fulls or thickens cloth – by walking on the cloth.” This male name is borne by artist Walker Evans.
Sherwood – (English) meaning “Woods belonging to the shire.” This male name became famous through the legends of Robin Hood. A famous Sherwood is poet Sherwood Anderson.
Morgan – (Welsh) meaning “Born from the sea.” This is both a male and a female name. Famous Morgans are actress Morgan Fairchild, and actor Morgan Freeman.
Valerie – (French from the Latin) meaning “To grow strong.” This old Roman family name is still a popular surname in France. As a first name, it is used only for girls. Actress Valerie Bertinelli is a famous Valerie.
Stewart – (English) meaning “Steward.” This male name became very popular as a first name in the 19th Century. Actor Stewart Granger is one famous bearer.
Spencer – (English) meaning “Caretaker.” This male and female name comes from the surname of a prominent English family. Two well-known bearers are actor Spencer Tracy, and actress Spencer Grammer.
Tiffany – (English from the Greek name “Theophania”) meaning “Manifestation of God.” This female name was popular in the Middle Ages as a first name. It later became a surname. Today it is both a female first name and a family surname. One bearer is actress Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
Lincoln – (Latin) meaning “A settlement at Lindum (Lake).” So far, this remains a male name. A famous Lincoln is artist Lincoln Kirstein.
Well, that is about it for today. But there are far more fascinating facts about when surnames became first names for baby girls and baby boys. So, stay tuned for a future article about some dashing surnames that are popular first names today. cheff