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Burrow Digger
14-02-2006, 3:08 PM
I have a NORMAN family from Somerset in the late 1700s - havent been able to go any further back yet. :(

I was wondering if it was possible if the family name NORMAN meant that the family was originally descended from a person of French/Normandy ancestry?

Is there any other source/origin for the family name of NORMAN?

Thanks

Burrow Digger

Sharon
28-02-2006, 7:13 PM
From the Last Name dictionary it states the meaning as


A native of Normandy, a northman. The inhabitants of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were anciently so called.

Kathryn Norman
16-07-2006, 2:38 AM
I also have the surname Norman. While it is correct that it could mean "Northman" ...it usually means from Normandy. In my case my DNA tells me that my family originally came from Denmark...while my father told me that we were from France (Normandy)...we were Danes who entered Normandy ...then England.
Also...I Googled Norman and found that it often means that the person with the surname Norman came from Normanville, France ....actually, there are two towns called Normanville in Normandy. Some Normans have the name of Normanville ...some kept it....some may have dropped the "ville".
Peace!
Kathryn E. Norman

Peter Goodey
16-07-2006, 10:48 AM
"...the family name NORMAN meant that the family was originally descended from a person of French/Normandy ancestry?"

Even if it were an open and shut case that the surname NORMAN derived originally and exclusively from Norman meaning an inhabitant of Normandy (and it most certainly is not, see also Sharon's message), you couldn't say that. It would be like trying to claim that the meaning of a modern English word is precisely the same as the meaning of the word from which it originally derived.

The evolution of surnames was too circuitous to draw conclusions about the genealogy of any particular individual alive today.

It's not impossible that some early examples of the surname NORMAN were variants of Normanton or any of the other place names starting with "Norman" (the etymology of the place name is similar).

Then of course there are surnames derived from nicknames ("that John's got airs and graces like a Norman / got a nose like a Norman / speaks French better than we do so we'll call him Norman").

The only way to be sure about the derivation of a particular example of a surname is to trace the ancestry back to the first use of the surname. Needless to say, this is not practical in most cases.