Notes on occupational and by-names added

Some PoMs users may have noticed a change this year in the presentation of many surnames or by-names which stem from an occupation or office, such as baker, tailor, or steward. Because the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the period when second names, whether heritable or not, became common, it is often difficult to determine whether names or occupation or office should be considered ‘proper surnames’ or simply descriptions of a person’s livelihood. Because many trades were hereditary, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two possibilities. In order to reflect this, we have decided to err on the side of caution and to consider occupational second names to be by-names rather than family names, except where there is evidence to suggest this was clearly not the case. In order to retain the possibility of their use as surnames, however, they have been retained in lower case within the surname section and can still be searched under surnames in the faceted browser. For more details, see the following notes:

Notes on occupational by-names

Notes on metonymic by-names