Surname Saturday – Government Approved, Part 1

As I’ve mentioned before, surnames for peasants came relatively recently in Latvia – the early to mid 1800s. When the provincial governments issued the decree abolishing serfdom, soon after also came the surname proclamations. After peasants started giving themselves surnames, the lords and rulers started to notice trends that could prove problematic – most prominently, patronymic-style surnames such as Pētersons, Ādamsons, etc. were becoming quite popular (it is worth noting also that patronymic-style surnames only appeared with frequency with roots in Germanic and Slavic languages – I have yet to see any Latvian-language patronymic-style surname). Since this could have the potential to create large groups of unrelated people with the same surname, the government of Vidzeme (the Latvian part of the Livland guberniya) issued a proclamation providing ideas for surnames, in the Latvian language, that people could choose from if they were looking for ideas.

How many people took suggestions from this document can’t be certain. But Latvian surname frequencies do show that nature-based names are the most common.

This 1823 proclamation had four categories of surnames, and I’ll profile each category over the next month of Surname Saturdays. The name in brackets is how it would be written today (or, if the name is unfamiliar to me, my best guess as to how it would be written), while the main entry is its spelling in the 1823 document. Let me know if you want to know what a name means!

This week: Professions, Stations, Jobs and Employment! Most of these are Latvian words, but I do notice some German ones in here.

Ahdminnis (Ādminis)

Additais (Adītājs)

Ahrditais (Ārdītājs)

Ahrstis (Ārsts)

Algadsis (Algacis)

Ammatneeks (Amatnieks)

Arrais (Arājs)

Audseknis (Audzeknis)

Bahders (Bāders)

Barrotais (Barotājs)

Beedris (Biedris)

Behrns (Bērns)

Beķķeris (Beķeris)

Bissineeks (Bisenieks)

Bitineeks (Bitenieks)

Blohdneeks (Bļodnieks)

Brahlis (Brālis)

Brauzeis (Braucējs)

Bruhdgans (Brūtgāns)

Bruņņeneeks (Bruņenieks)

Buhmannis (Būmanis)

Buhmeisteris (Būmeistars)

Bundsineeks (Bundzenieks)

Darbineeks (Darbinieks)

Darwdedsis (Darvdedzis)

Dauguls (Daugulis)

Dehls (Dēls)

Derretais (Derētājs)

Deweis (Devējs)

Draugs (Draugs)

Drawineeks (Dravenieks)

Dreimannis (Dreimanis)

Dseedatais (Dziedātājs)

Dselskalleis (Dzelzkalējs)

Dsinneis (Dzinējs)

Dsirnukalleis (Dzirnukalējs)

Dwihnis (Dvīnis)

Eesalneeks (Iesalnieks)

Ehrģelneeks (Ērģelnieks)

Enģelis (Enģelis)

Ezzetais (Ezētājs)

Gahjeis (Gājējs)

Gaitneeks (Gaitnieks)

Galdneeks (Galdnieks)

Galwineeks (Galvenieks)

Glahbeis (Glābējs)

Glahsneeks (Glāznieks)

Grahmatneeks (Grāmatnieks)

Gultneeks (Gultnieks)

Jahtneeks (Jātnieks)

Jauneklis (Jauneklis)

Ihreis (Īrējs)

Johstneeks (Jostnieks)

Juhrgahjeis (Jūrgājējs)

Juhrmalneeks (Jūrmalnieks)

Kahjneeks (Kājnieks)

Kaimiņsch (Kaimiņš)

Kalleis (Kalējs)

Kaprazzeis (Kapracējs)

Kaschokneeks (Kažoknieks)

Kegelneeks (Ķieģelnieks)

Kehniņsch (Ķēniņš)

Kohpneeks (Kopnieks)

Kohpmannis (Kopmanis)

Krahjeis (Krājejs)

Krodsineeks (Krodzinieks)

Kuģģinieks (Kuģinieks)

Kuhleis (Kūlējs)

Kuhms (Kūms)

Kuptschis (Kupčis)

Kurpneeks (Kurpnieks)

Kutschers (Kučers)

Laiwneeks (Laivenieks)

Lassmannis (Lasmanis)

Leezineeks (Liecinieks)

Leijineeks (Lejinieks)

Luhdseis (Lūdzējs)

Lutteklis (Luteklis)

Mahjineeks (Mājnieks)

Mahzeklis (Māceklis)

Makschķerneeks (Makšķernieks)

Malleis (Mālējs)

Melderis (Melderis)

Malzineeks (Malcinieks)

Mannitais (Mānītājs)

Mantineeks (Mantinieks)

Meddineeks (Medinieks)

Meesneeks (Miesnieks)

Meetneeks (Mietnieks)

Mehrneeks (Mērnieks)

Meisteris (Meisteris)

Muhrneeks (Mūrnieks)

Namneeks (Namnieks)

Nesseis (Nesējs)

Ohdsineeks (Odzinieks)

Ohrmannis (Ormanis)

Pastneeks (Pastnieks)

Pawars (Pavārs)

Pinneis (Pinējs)

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