Surnames as a Science

Robert Ferguson

Surnames as a Science
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Surnames as a Science

Robert Ferguson

As some things that seem common, and even ignoble, to the naked eye, lose their meanness under the revelations of the microscope, so, many of our surnames that seem common and even vulgar at first sight, will be found, when their origin is adequately investigated, to be of high antiquity, and of unsuspected dignity. Clodd, for instance, might seem to be of boorish origin, and Clout to have been a dealer in old rags. But I claim for them that they are twin brothers, and etymologically the descendants of a Frankish king. Napp is not a name of distinguished sound, yet it is one that can take us back to that far-off time ere yet the history of England had begun, when, among the little kinglets on the old Saxon shore, Hnaf ruled the Hocings. Moll, Betty, Nanny, and Pegg sound rather ignoble as the names of men, yet there is nothing of womanliness in their warlike origin.

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