Discussion:
Occupation-derived surnames
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Ramapriya D
2017-05-14 01:15:46 UTC
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It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why is this so?

Thanks in advance,

Ramapriya
Jack Campin
2017-05-14 01:22:48 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such
as Baker, Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper
but I've never thus far come across a Farmer although it's
got to be *the* most traditional of occupations.
Scottish musicologist H.G. Farmer
Scottish car-repair mogul Sir Tom Farmer

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e m a i l : j a c k @ c a m p i n . m e . u k
Jack Campin, 11 Third Street, Newtongrange, Midlothian EH22 4PU, Scotland
mobile 07895 860 060 <http://www.campin.me.uk> Twitter: JackCampin
Richard Tobin
2017-05-14 07:21:03 UTC
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Post by Jack Campin
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such
as Baker, Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper
but I've never thus far come across a Farmer although it's
got to be *the* most traditional of occupations.
Scottish musicologist H.G. Farmer
Scottish car-repair mogul Sir Tom Farmer
Conqueror of Southern Scotland Agricola

-- Richard
Mark Brader
2017-05-14 01:24:53 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
I don't know why you've never come across it. Here are some examples,
if Wikipedia is correct:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmer_(surname)

Of that list, two names are familiar to me as real people, and one
as a fictional character. Curiously, all three have similar first
names: Fannie Farmer, Frances Farmer, and Frank Farmer.

I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)

it does exist.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | And perhaps another sigquote for Mark, who
***@vex.net | seems to be running low... --Steve Summit

My text in this article is in the public domain.
RH Draney
2017-05-14 03:05:44 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)
it does exist.
"I want the following men to fall in on the double: Schmidt! Herrera!
Kovacs!"...

Would the OP accept occupational names with nonstandard spelling?...my
mother's maiden name was Shepard....r
Peter T. Daniels
2017-05-14 03:22:05 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)
it does exist.
"I want the following men to fall in on the double: Schmidt! Herrera!
Kovacs!"...
Would the OP accept occupational names with nonstandard spelling?...my
mother's maiden name was Shepard....r
Related to Sam or Jean or Alan?
Jerry Friedman
2017-05-14 06:35:06 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)
it does exist.
"I want the following men to fall in on the double: Schmidt! Herrera!
Kovacs!"...
...

What happened to LeFevre, Kowalski, Taliaferro, and Tolliver?
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-05-14 09:04:44 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
I don't know why you've never come across it. Here are some examples,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmer_(surname)
Of that list, two names are familiar to me as real people, and one
as a fictional character. Curiously, all three have similar first
names: Fannie Farmer, Frances Farmer, and Frank Farmer.
I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)
it does exist.
I've come across it in the older form "Iremonger".
https://www.houseofnames.com/iremonger-family-crest

The ancient name of Iremonger finds its origins with the ancient
Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a person
who worked in iron. The surname Iremonger originally derived from
the Old English components iren and mangere which signified the
profession of ironmonger.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iremonger

There was a man named Tom Iremonger who was a memeber of the UK
parliament from 1954 to 1974:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Iremonger
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Jack Campin
2017-05-14 09:45:38 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by Mark Brader
I've never seen "Ironmonger" as a surname, though according to Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironmonger_(disambiguation)
it does exist.
I've come across it in the older form "Iremonger".
https://www.houseofnames.com/iremonger-family-crest
The ancient name of Iremonger finds its origins with the ancient
Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a person
who worked in iron. The surname Iremonger originally derived from
the Old English components iren and mangere which signified the
profession of ironmonger.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iremonger
There was a man named Tom Iremonger who was a memeber of the UK
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Iremonger
And an Irish poet/diplomat:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentin_Iremonger

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
e m a i l : j a c k @ c a m p i n . m e . u k
Jack Campin, 11 Third Street, Newtongrange, Midlothian EH22 4PU, Scotland
mobile 07895 860 060 <http://www.campin.me.uk> Twitter: JackCampin
David Kleinecke
2017-05-14 01:25:24 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why is this so?
Pure accident.

Farmer is a fairly common last name.
Ramapriya D
2017-05-14 06:31:41 UTC
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Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why is this so?
Pure accident.
Farmer is a fairly common last name.
It does appear so, yes. I'm sure I'll come across a Farmer someday. Garrett's take on the rarity of the surname too made for interesting reading.

Ramapriya
Garrett Wollman
2017-05-14 03:56:37 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
Precisely because it's a very common occupation. Such surnames were
originally epithets: John Baker as distinct from John Smith as
distinct from John Cooper as distinct from John the Bishop's
man(servant). In a typical medieval town, there would be very few
people engaged in those occupations, so they would serve a
distinguishing function -- whereas "farmer" was the most common
occupation and therefore would not distinguish anyone. Thus, John
Farmer is more likely to be someone who *used to be* a farmer, or who
was the son of a farmer but moved to the city (or didn't inherit). In
some cases, such names may be alterations (e.g., anglicized) or
calques of foreign names (which may or may not have had any connection
to occupations).

I have no idea what a Wollmann did in Prussia at the point when
surnames became formalized. We assume it was something to do with
wool. And we don't know whether our earliest ancestor of that name
actually had anything to do with that trade (indeed, we don't know
anything at all about said ancestor, unless more information has come
to light in the past few decades since my grandfather died).

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-14 10:42:42 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
Precisely because it's a very common occupation. Such surnames were
originally epithets: John Baker as distinct from John Smith as
distinct from John Cooper as distinct from John the Bishop's
man(servant). In a typical medieval town, there would be very few
people engaged in those occupations, so they would serve a
distinguishing function -- whereas "farmer" was the most common
occupation and therefore would not distinguish anyone. Thus, John
Farmer is more likely to be someone who *used to be* a farmer, or who
was the son of a farmer but moved to the city (or didn't inherit).
Exactly that sort of argument explains why Cornish is much more common
in Devon than in Cornwall, and Devenish is much more common in Somerset
than in Devon. My great^12 grandfather Robert Cornyshe was already in
Devon in 1500, but probably an ancestor came to Devon from Cornwall at
about the time that surnames were becoming stable.
Post by Garrett Wollman
In
some cases, such names may be alterations (e.g., anglicized) or
calques of foreign names (which may or may not have had any connection
to occupations).
I have no idea what a Wollmann did in Prussia at the point when
surnames became formalized. We assume it was something to do with
wool. And we don't know whether our earliest ancestor of that name
actually had anything to do with that trade (indeed, we don't know
anything at all about said ancestor, unless more information has come
to light in the past few decades since my grandfather died).
-GAWollman
--
athel
Dingbat
2017-05-14 06:00:59 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith,
Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across
a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why
is this so?
According to this list, 'farmer' originally meant a rent collector whereas
Ackerman, Bond and Cotterill were farming occupations:
https://surnames.behindthename.com/names/source/occupation
Post by Ramapriya D
Thanks in advance,
Ramapriya
India's Parsis have occupational surnames uncommon in the West. The
Anglicized ones that come to mind are Contractor, Doctor, Engineer and
Merchant. Late Field Marshal Maneckshaw's daughter Sherry married a
Batliwala (Bottler) and there's Motorwala, Cyclewala, Screwala, etc.
Sodabottleopenerwala strikes me as funny.
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-history-behind-the-surnames-like-motorwala-chandiwala-etc-of-Parsi-people
Ross
2017-05-14 10:43:27 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith,
Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across
a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why
is this so?
According to this list, 'farmer' originally meant a rent collector whereas
https://surnames.behindthename.com/names/source/occupation
Post by Ramapriya D
Thanks in advance,
Ramapriya
India's Parsis have occupational surnames uncommon in the West. The
Anglicized ones that come to mind are Contractor, Doctor, Engineer and
Merchant. Late Field Marshal Maneckshaw's daughter Sherry married a
Batliwala (Bottler) and there's Motorwala, Cyclewala, Screwala, etc.
Sodabottleopenerwala strikes me as funny.
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-history-behind-the-surnames-like-motorwala-chandiwala-etc-of-Parsi-people
I think I've seen people named Doctor and Engineer. And Ismail Merchant,
film producer, is quite well known through Merchant-Ivory pictures.
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-14 10:44:48 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker, Smith,
Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far come across
a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of occupations. Why
is this so?
According to this list, 'farmer' originally meant a rent collector whereas
https://surnames.behindthename.com/names/source/occupation
Post by Ramapriya D
Thanks in advance,
Ramapriya
India's Parsis have occupational surnames uncommon in the West. The
Anglicized ones that come to mind are Contractor, Doctor, Engineer and
Merchant.
Not uncommon in the West (at least if spelt Marchant).
Post by Dingbat
Late Field Marshal Maneckshaw's daughter Sherry married a
Batliwala (Bottler) and there's Motorwala, Cyclewala, Screwala, etc.
Sodabottleopenerwala strikes me as funny.
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-history-behind-the-surnames-like-motorwala-chandiwala-etc-of-Parsi-people
--
athel
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-05-14 08:52:30 UTC
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On Sat, 13 May 2017 18:15:46 -0700 (PDT), Ramapriya D
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus
far come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most
traditional of occupations. Why is this so?
Thanks in advance,
Ramapriya
My local phone directory, for a quarter of Northern Ireland, has 12
entries for people with the surname Farmer.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter Moylan
2017-05-14 10:39:45 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sat, 13 May 2017 18:15:46 -0700 (PDT), Ramapriya D
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus
far come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most
traditional of occupations. Why is this so?
Thanks in advance,
My local phone directory, for a quarter of Northern Ireland, has 12
entries for people with the surname Farmer.
36 in the Newcastle phone book.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-14 10:33:48 UTC
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Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
I've known a number of Farmers, and I regard it as a familiar surname,
whereas I've never come across an Ironmonger or a Shoemaker.
(Schumacher, yes, but in German.)

According to http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/ Farmer ranked 447th in
the UK in 1998.

1 Smith
31 Cooper
37 Baker
215 Potter
8418 Ironmonger
---- Shoemaker "No statistics were found for this name or category."

I might have expected Farmer to rank higher than 447th, but in general
the ranks are more or less what I expected.

So "Why is this so?": I think it's your perception that is mistaken,
not the frequencies.

Also, I doubt whether Farmer is _the_ most traditional of occupations.
When I were a lad there were many more farm labourers than farmers.
--
athel
Ross
2017-05-14 10:41:20 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ramapriya D
It's fairly common to see occupation-derived surnames such as Baker,
Smith, Potter, Ironmonger, Shoemaker and Cooper but I've never thus far
come across a Farmer although it's got to be *the* most traditional of
occupations. Why is this so?
I've known a number of Farmers, and I regard it as a familiar surname,
whereas I've never come across an Ironmonger or a Shoemaker.
(Schumacher, yes, but in German.)
According to http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/ Farmer ranked 447th in
the UK in 1998.
1 Smith
31 Cooper
37 Baker
215 Potter
8418 Ironmonger
---- Shoemaker "No statistics were found for this name or category."
William Lee "Bill" Shoemaker, legendary American jockey. Also the principal
at a school where my mother used to teach.
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