Historical Influences Upon Modern English Names Great Britain is a geographical term which refers to the island off Europe's western coast and bordered by the Atlantic, Irish Sea and English Channel. The country of England covering 88,745 sq. mi comprises more than 2/3rds of the island. Politically, the term 'Great Britain' refers collectively to 2 kingdoms, England and Scotland, as well as Wales, a principality. Therefore, while all Scots are from Great Britain, most become offended if referred to as English. The actual name for the initials UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was officially formed in 1801 and is the greater portion of the land in the British Isles. England accounting for over 83 % of the UK's population, is its most populous and largest constituent country. The Diverse History of English Names The majority of English names don't derive from English. The historical significance in determining English names is demonstrated through the conquering and conquests by prevailing powers which ruled during particular periods in history. Continental Germanic tribes, the Angles & Saxons, arrived in Britain around the 5th century. The Celtic natives were displaced or absorbed having previously been under the Roman authority. Names used by the Anglo-Saxons were Old English Germanic. Old Norse (Scandinavian) names infiltrated England when the Vikings began raiding the country in the late 8th century. In 1066, the Normans became the rulers in England following the Norman Conquest. Old English names were quickly replaced with the Norman's Germanic names, and their usage disappeared for decades. The Church In the 13th century, the Catholic church exerted its power and control over much of Europe and many surrounding nations. Under strong urging by the church, people gave their children saintly names. These 'Christian' names had Ancient Greek, Hebrew, or Latin origins. Today, many Catholics, continue to use the names of saints for their children in first and middle names. This is also seen in several areas in America where Catholicism is the dominant religion practiced. The Protestant Reformation which began in the 15th century divided the church and naming customs began to reflect the Bible. In the 17th century, obscure Old Testament biblical names were commonly used by the fundamentalist Puritans. The Puritans also began the virtue naming practice still employed today, using names like Patience and Charity. Trends and Other Influences Trends in given names such as using family names, vocabulary words (Summer, Sky), variants (Krystle fr. Crystal), and diminutives (Charlie, Sammy) or abbreviated names (Jessie, Barb, Alex, Bill) came into practice later. Literary and mythological names became common in England during the 19th century. Modern English names are linguistically diverse, borrowing from many other languages, and have grown to include variants and invented names (Jolene, Lavone) amassed over the years. The English Language English is the 4th most spoken of all languages with approximately 345 million speakers (native) and the 2nd language most used worldwide. The English language is spoken in the U.S., England, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and several additional countries. Modern English comes from Middle English derived from Old English which originated in England. A full name typically includes three names: first (given), middle, last (family or surname). Middle names are secondary given names and vary in source. An English name can include several middle names or none. Current top ten names for baby boys in England & Wales are Oliver, Jack, Harry, Alfie, Charlie, Thomas, Willian, Joshua, George and James. The 10 most popular English girl names are Olivia, Sophie, Emily, Lily, Amelia, Jessica, Ruby, Chloe, Grace, and Evie. England's Development of Surnames In order to differentiate people further from each other, surnames began being commonly used in Europe during the 13th century when 1/3 of all males were named John, William or Richard. Surnames developed as a result of attempting to uniquely identify individuals and fall into 1 of 4 categories. 1. Surname is derived from the given name, usually patronymic but at times matronymic. The names Thompson, Williams, and Johnson are examples of surnames derived from given names. Paternally derived names or those coming from the father are termed patronymic (a patronym), while maternally derived names, coming from the mother, are called matronymic (a matronym). The patronymic origin in the name Peterson is obvious in its dissection = Peter's son. 2. Surname is an occupational reference to the bearer. As most prevalent English surname, Smith, is the best classic example for an occupational surname. Other examples include Wright and Clark. 3. Surname derived from bearer residence. This category of names were considered topographic or locational surnames and describe the area in which the name bearer lived. Woods, Ford, and Hill are examples of topographical surnames. 4. Surname created from nicknames. Self implied or imposed nicknames which were used to create surnames include Long, Young, and White. English Elements Final elements coming from ancient English are often used in first names derived from surnames. For example, Stanley, Shirley, and Bradley use the element -ley which comes from leah (Old English), leye (Middle English) meaning “grove or clearing”. The same usage and meaning applies to the element -lee.