“Occupational” Names

What’s in a name? Recently I was staring at the names in a mailing list, and the name “Butcher” reminded me that it’s spelled exactly like the professional tradespeople behind the meat counter for a reason. Names tell us something about our heritage.

How many “occupational” names can you think of? I tried to list as many such names as I could think of, below. My list is mostly English surnames. I didn’t try to branch out into other languages: “Schmidt” is German for Smith. “Muller” or “Mueller” is the German variant of Miller. My own surname “Forbes” is from the ancient Gaelic “forba” meaning field – possibly indicating agricultural origin.

If you get stuck, I found a useful genealogy link at About.com which offers etymologies on hundreds of names.

Baker

Brewer

Butcher

Butler

Carpenter

Carter

Cartwright

Chandler

Collier

Cutler

Fisher

Gardener

Hooper

Hunter

Mason

Miller

Packer

Plumber

Porter

Sawyer

Skinner

Smith

Swain

Tanner

Warden

Wright

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