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SURNAME. A name which is added to the christian name, and which, in modern times, have become family names.
     2. They are called surnames, because originally they were written over the name in judicial writings and contracts. They were and are still used for the purpose of distinguishing persons of the same name. They were taken from something attached to the persons assuming them, as John Carpenter, Joseph Black, Samuel Little, &c. See Name.

References in classic literature ?
I don't trouble myself, you see, to invest fictitious family names.
Is it compulsory for my family name to be on the name badge?
Before World War I, the family name of the English royal family was "Saxe Coburg Gotha" indicating their Germanic origin.
The Israelis did not recognize this undisputed truth and insisted that the family name of the mother did not match up with the prisoner's name," said Amani Srahna, an official at the Palestinian Prisoner Club told Gulf News.
I read that this word in Hebrew means 'God's Gift', which is also the meaning of the Arab family name 'Atallah, found in many Arab countries.
When you were born, you inherited an heirloom - your family name, first given to an ancestor up to 1,000 years ago.
IT SEEMS G Bryant shares the Sutton Cold-field Conservatives' infantile amusement in mocking my family name ('What a lot of Poppycock', Letters, May 20).
Islam allows a family to give an orphan everything from financial support and care, all but the family name," said Sheikh Saber Taalab, former member of the Islamic Research Center.
It can get complicated if the original business name includes the family surname, and the departing relatives also intend to use the family name.
A family name that earns him pounds 249,000-a-year Parliamentary Annuity, a 30bedroom mansion in Windsor Great Park, and an estimated private wealth of pounds 13million, enabling him to fork out pounds 200,000 last month on a Bentley that does 10 miles to the gallon, bearing the personalised number plate DOY.
His family name was Scotto, and was not Italian, but of Scottish origin, Villalonga added.