Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/837

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
811
INDUSTRIAL FAMILY NAMES.

Plater, Disher, and, according to Taylor, Turner also, though some assign this name to the worker in wood. The burden of proof, however, seems to make the original turner an artist in jugs, the propriety of the name in this case being manifest.

From wood, stone, and clay the transition to the metals is easy and natural, and of the skill of our Saxon forefathers in this direction there are abundant records in the family names still remaining in common use. Iron, Ironer, and Ironman are common; Copper, Coper, Copperer, and Coperman equally so; while Leader, Lederman, and Lederer come down almost unchanged from Roger le Lederman, mentioned in a parliamentary writ of the thirteenth century. Brasser and Brassy still exist, along with Tiner and Tyner, to testify to the variety of metals used, while Silver is as rare as Golden, though both exist in our directories, and doubtless tell of the occupations of their originals.

When metal-working is considered, the family names indicative of occupation are equally significant. Smith needs only a mention as a sort of generic term; Coppersmith is often seen, together with Goldsmith. The manufacture of special articles of metal gave rise to several family names—such as Spooner, Knifer, and Nypher—Ralph le Spooner and John le Knyfere appearing in the records of that period. The cutler then as now dealt in small articles of hardware, and the Cutlers remain to bear witness to the popularity of the business; while Armour speaks of the development of the craft in another direction.

Leaving metal-working for the manufacture of textile fabrics. Prof. Müller has some very interesting notes on the manufacture of flax as connected with the growth of the English language. From these it is evident that several family names originated with the linen trade. There are Flax and Flaxman, Linn, Lynn, and Lynnman, who doubtless provided the material, lin being a Saxon name for Flax; and, with some probability, it has been suggested that White, Whitener, Whitner, Bleach, Blake, Blaker, and Blakeman had their origin in the process of bleaching the goods. Leather, too, furnished names as well as occupation to those who dealt in it or busied themselves in various branches of its manufacture. The records of the twelfth century have preserved for us the names of Ralph le Hyder, Roger le Skinnere, John le Curier, Thomas le Tannere, whose philological descendants still appear on the pages of our directories in varied spellings, while the Shoemakers are almost as numerous as the Glovers. Sowter, Sutter, and Soter are modifications of Souter, once a common name for a shoemaker, while Clouter, Cloter, and Cloutman, together with Cobbler, Cobler, and Cobbleman, are forms of a different word of the same signification, and the Pattens, Pattons, Pattenmans, Pattermans, and perhaps Pattersons, took their names from