Allen or Alan: linking first names to surnames

Written by    Last updated: March 21, 2007

Many first names and surnames are similar or even identical due to the fact that they come from the same source of names.

During the Middle Ages people generally had only one fixed name – their given name. Any other name that was added was used to designate occupation, estate, place of residence, or some particular thing or event that related to the person.

Eventually, when both the first name and second name together began recurring and causing mix-ups, it was necessary to add a further name in the middle to identify the individual more clearly.  Usually, this was done by giving the father’s first name as a second name or by giving two names at the time of baptism. For example, John’s son may be given the surname Johnson. Employees were also often named after their employer, for instance the surname Andrews could mean either ‘son of’ or ‘employee of’ Andrew.

Among the aristocracy there was a tradition of giving the mother’s surname as the child’s middle name.  Eventually the middle names were elevated to first names. For instance, some of the Scottish first names that started as surnames are Cameron, Murray and Scott.

Here are some first names that are related to or are the same as surnames…

First Name Name as Surname
Adam Adamson, Addison, Atkins, Atkinson
Agnes Annison, Anson
Alan Allan, Allen, Allinson
Alexander Sanders, Saunderson
Amice Amis, Amison
Andrew Anderson, Andrews
Augustine Austen, Austin
Bartholomew Bartlett, Bateman, Bates
Bailey Bailey
Beatrice Beatty, Beeton
Benedict Benn, Bennett, Benson
Cameron Cameron
Campbell Campbell
Carrick Carrick
Cicely Sisley, Sisson
Chandler Chandler
Christopher Kitson, Kitts
Craig Craig
Daniel Daniels, Danson
Daly Daly
David Davidson, Davies, Dawes
Denis Dennison, Dyson, Tennyson
Douglas Douglas
Duncan Duncan
Durand Durrance, Durant
Earl Earl, Earle
Edith Eddis, Eddison
Edmund Edmondson, Edmunds
Elias Elliot, Ellis, Ellison
Emery Amery, Emerson
Emma Emmett, Empson
Evan Evans, Bevan
Farrell Farrell
Findlay Findlay
Fraser Frazer
Geoffrey Jeeves, Jeffries, Jefferson
Gerald Garratt, Jarrett, Jerrold
Gervais Gervis, Jarvis
Gilbert Gibbs, Gibbons, Gilbertson
Graham Graham
Grant Grant
Gregory Greer, Gregson, Grierson
Kelly Kelly
Henry Harris, Harrison, Henderson
Herman Armand, Harman
Hugh Hewes, Hudson, Hutchinson
Isabel Ibson, Tibbs
James Gemson, Jamieson
John Jackson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones
Juliana Gill, Gillett, Gilson
Laurence Law, Lawrence, Lowry
Lee Lee
Lewis Llewellyn, Louis, Lowis
Lloyd Lloyd
Luke Lucas, Lukin
Mabel Mappin, Mapson
Margaret Magson, Margetts
Martin Martell, Martens, Martinson
Mary Malleson, Marriott, Mollison
Matilda Madison, Mawson, Tilley
Matthew Matheson, Mattin, Maykin
Morgan Morgan
Murray Murray
Nicholas Cole, Collett, Collins, Nicholson
Nigel Neal, Neilson, Nelson
Nolan Nolan
Patrick Paterson, Paton, Pattison
Peter Pearson, Perkins, Peterson, Pierce
Ralph Rawkins, Rawlins, Rawlinson
Randal Randall, Randolph, Rand
Reid Reid, Reed
Rhys Rice, Reece, Price
Richard Dickens, Higgins, Pritchard, Richardson
Robert Dobbs, Hobson, Hopkins, Robinson, Robson
Ross Ross
Russell Russell
Scott Scott
Stewart Stewart
Simon Simmonds, Simpson, Symonds
Stephen Stenson, Stephenson, Stevens
Thomas Thompson, Tomlinson, Tompkins
Todd Todd
Tremaine Tremaine
Trevor Trevor
Tyler Tyler
Vaughan Vaughan
Walter Waterson, Watkins, Watson
William Gilliam, Wilkins, Willkinson, Wilson

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