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French Surname Origins:



French surnames were first used in the 11th century to distinguish people who had the same given name, but surnames for all didn't become common until centuries later.

As in other countries, French surnames developed from four major sources:
  • Patronymic Surnames - A surname based on the first name of the father is the most common category of French last names. A French prefix or suffix is sometimes added to a given name to form a patronymic surname.

    • French suffixes such as (eau), meaning 'son of', is attached to the end of given name:
      • -eau Moreau - son of the Moor.


    • French Prefixes, meaning 'son of', is attached to the beginning of a given name:

    • Most French patronymic surnames do not have a prefix or suffix:


  • Occupational Surnames - A surname based on the person's job or trade is also common.

  • Descriptive Surnames - A surname based on the person or personality, usually a nickname.
    • Brun - A person with brown hair or complexion
    • Petit - A small person or a junior


  • Geographical Surnames - A surname based on a person's residence or former residence



Some of the more common French surnames are:

Arceneau
Aucoin
Babin
Babineaux
Benoit
Bergeron
Bernard
Bertrand
Bessette
Blanc
Blanchard
Bonnet
Boucher
Bourg
Bourque
Boutin
Bouvier
Braud
Broussard
Brun
Chevalier
David
Depaul
Desmarais
Disney
Dubois
Dupont
Dupuis
Durand
Fortescue
Fournier
Garnier
Gaudet
Gillet / Gillette
Girard
Gravois
Grosvenor
Lambert
Landry
Laroche
Laurent
Lefevre
Leroy
Leveque
Lisle
Martin
Michel
Molyneux
Moreau
Morel
Neville
Pelletier
Petit
Prideux
Renard
Richard
Robert
Rousseau
Roux
Rufus
Simon
Thomas


See also: French Genealogy Words




Surname Origins

  •   French Surnames
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  •   Hispanic Surnames
  •   Irish Surnames
  •   Scottish Surnames






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