Family Name History Certificates
are valuable and significant pieces of information; providing the origin, meaning, motto and other notable facts of interest about your family name. Most names have an awarded Coat of Arms with uniquie Heraldic symbols.
Order your Celebration Scroll (our most popular item) and begin the journey of uncovering your personal Family history.
See below to explore our full range of Family Name history certificates.
The Celebration Scroll with History and Coat of Arms is the most popular.
Surnames Meaning and History
As the complexity of society increased, it became necessary for a means to identify individuals and their families. This identification was used primarily for legal reasons, such as taxation, transfers of deeds, inheritance and polling. It was no longer sufficient to be known simply as "John". Surnames became the answer to this problem. Fixed surnames, names that are passed down from one generation to the next, developed at different times in each country and culture.
We find the earliest fixed surnames in China as long ago as 2500 BC. In Western Europe it began nearly one thousand years ago. This corresponded to the time of the Crusades. The Knights of Northern Europe were absent from their homes for several years to participate in the Crusades. Under these circumstances, there was a clear advantage in having a distinct identification provided by a surname that clearly indicated one's connection to a wealthy and powerful lineage whose reputation might well extend beyond the borders of the homeland.
Some countries and cultures were more recent in the practice of using surnames. For example, Scandinavian countries did not employ hereditary last names as a rule until less than 200 years ago. In the Netherlands it was a decree from Napoleon that forced all families to adopt a permanent last name in the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the first hereditary surname appears in Turkey where Kemel Ataturk was the first to use a permanent last name. In Indonesia it is not uncommon to this day for a person to be identified by just their first name. What can be said for certain is that once families had a surname, it became a source of pride and honor.