Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/834

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
INDUSTRIAL FAMILY NAMES.

By Prof. D. R. McANALLY.

THE industrial history of the English-speaking peoples has been faithfully written by able hands, and, until more material accumulates by the growth of science and the progress of industry, little can be added to records already made. The study of what may, for the lack of a better name, be called industrial philology, has not, however, kept pace with the history of industrial occupations. Much has been well done in this line, for long ago students of language perceived that in the proper names of men and places lingered unwritten histories, but all yet accomplished scarcely makes an impression on the huge heap of material, since most proper names once had a significance which, in many cases, has long ago been forgotten.

Even a casual examination of the family names of men discloses the fact that many of the most common must have originated in the adoption, by an individual, of the name of his occupation as a surname, to distinguish him from other men of the same given name. Dr. Adam Clarke, in his "Autobiography," has a learned and critical essay on his own name, and accounts for its use by his family in the manner already indicated. There can be no doubt that this is a typical illustration, nor that, during the period when the English language was assuming its present form, many trade-names became those of individuals, and frequently, when men more than commonly distinguished themselves in a calling, were assumed as distinctive surnames by their children, and were thus continued when the propriety of the appellation no longer existed. In this way multitudes of trade-names are perpetuated, some in their original form, some so modified as to be scarcely recognizable, and others, no doubt, which once were designations of trade, so changed as to bear not a trace of their origin. Concerning the last named speculation is profitless, and even those of the second class may be passed with little notice, since quite enough material is found in family names which plainly proclaim their own ancestry.

The food-providing occupations have always, of necessity, been thronged, and from them come, in more or less altered form, many of our family names. The Butchers and Slaughters tell their own story, so also do Flesh and Flesher, since in Scotland and the north of England the purveyor of fresh meat is even to-day known as the "flesher." But Fletcher and Flitcher need to be introduced as the lineal descendants of Flesher, while Boucher and Bouchelle would be unidentified were not the fact known that