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Female-Related Names Neither Patronymic nor Matronymic (Occupation,
Names that are clearly specific to women but follow neither a matronymic nor patronymic form are found regularly as well.
Such an incongruity is significant, particularly if it happened in other cases, as it may indicate that personal preference and usage were not only different than the official, but may have also revealed a greater matronymic influence in daily life than government recordings would indicate.
The records that do exist indicate that matronymic surnames were quite common at one time.
However, the fact that two of these surviving female occupational names were used exclusively for women provides an additional strong indication of not only the existence but the common historical usage of matronymic naming.
Many of the women's surnames discussed herein have disappeared, or appear to have done due to significant changes in form, whether their existence came about as a matronymic name or a female-specific nickname or descriptor.
What is notable in this mass of lost names is the number of matronymic surnames that do still exist in some form.
The only reason that names which were once matronymic are still represented is that they were passed from mothers to children--becoming hereditary but not necessarily patronymic--before this "traditional" usage of marital names developed whereby women lost their names to their husbands and children always took the name of the father.
Any contention that female-specific or matronymic surnames ever existed was at first met with tremendous resistance and derision.
The existence and frequency of female-specific and matronymic surnaming in England through about 1600 would today fall in the realm of the extraordinary.