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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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
If I get married, I'll add my partner's last name to mine.
Many years ago, there were no last names. It was confusing.
Drag First Name into the first column of the query design grid and Last Name into the second column.
The Arab last names which made it to the highest places on the list are Agbaria (ninth), Mahmid (14th), Jabarin (15th), Khatib (21st), Mahajna (29th), Zoabi (30th) and Souad (36th).
E[currency]iE-li's 1st Civil Court of First Instance rejected her suit in 2007 on the grounds that Article 187 of Turkey's Civil Code compels women to take their husband's last name, or use it alongside their maiden name, after getting married.
The father raised the points that the child had extended contact with her father's family, and that the child was not moving to a new community to begin a new life (if a child is moving to a new community, the child may be embarrassed to explain why the child has a different last name than the parent the child lives with).
To begin, write your last name across the top of the grid.
Controversial presenter Paul Henry resigned from state broadcaster Television New Zealand after he caused official complaints over mocking the last name of New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
A story in Thursday's Prep Football 2010 section misspelled his last name "Thieffelt" and identified him as a senior.
"My grandfather's last name is Goldberg," he explains, "so in a way [by changing my name], I'm going back to my roots."