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Have you ever wondered about the meaning of your last name or where your family came from What your ancestors did or where they lived Surnames our last names tell a story about our family one handed down for hundreds of years By tracing the possible origin of your last name you can learn more about the medieval ancestors who first bore the last name and ultimately handed it down to you The study of names fascinates me I occasionally read articles in the newspaper about the most popular childrens names these days Over time of course the popular names change Mary is not as popular today as Megan and Keith is no longer as popular as Jason The change in patterns and trends is nothing new it has been going on for centuries As we research our families we may find naming patterns and conventions that can help with our quests In this weeks Along Those Lines lets discuss some of the patterns you might encounter in your genealogical research Names are important They help define an individuals identity both within the family unit and within the community Sometimes a persons name has its origin in the family Sometimes the name has religious significance The name may also have an ethnic origin or connotation And in still other cases a childs name sometimes commemorates someone outside the family even a public figure Lets explore each of these instances Perhaps the most prevalent name conventions are with regard to family In some families in some cultures andor in some locales tradition dictates that children be named for members of past generations Surnames in some Scandinavian countries are thus indicative of a childs parentage The Swedish name Carl Johannson for example would indicate that Carl is the son of Johann while the name Ingrid Hendricksdotter would indicate that Ingrid is the daughter dotter of Hendricks Differences in surname spellings in Scandinavia can indicate country of origin
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