European Ancestors – Understanding France (28) French Surnames (Geographical)

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Flag adopted 15 Feb 1794

This post is part of a series about genealogy in France. You can read the complete series HERE.

Continuing the French Surname posts from (31)

Geographical surnames are a feature of many countries, based upon a person’s residence, perhaps the town or place they lived or formerly lived, or a location within a place, or a description of a place.

Here are a few examples:

  • Jacques Marsielle could be either from there, or formerly from there.
  • Jacques Leglise could be living next to the church.

Whilst it is useful in part, these types of surnames are not overly helpful. Names passed from father to offspring, might be representing a family connection from previous generations, rather than specific to a particular one.

Prefixes used as such de, des, du or le which translate to of – some using Jacques above might include the prefix with the surname, whilst others dropped it, but retained the place name.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in European Ancestors, France, French Surnames, Genealogy, Non-British Surnames, Understanding France Series. Bookmark the permalink.

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