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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 ?
First, it utilized the distribution of race among surnames on the national level using Census information, which could differ from that observed in Connecticut.
In terms of Circular Number 10 of 2016, the department issued an instruction to officials to allow women to indicate their choice of surname under which they wish to be recorded in the National Population Register following the registration of a marriage.
Some say that choices of surnames are for the reasons of political expediency, even If they are, so what?
It's just assumed that three surnames take in 45 percent of the population and that is normal.
The BJP leader claimed that Gandhi has hurt the sentiments of crores of people with Modi surname. The Deputy Chief Minister said, "He (Rahul Gandhi) has referred to crores of people with 'Modi' surname as 'chor' and hurt their sentiments."
When the two youngsters and Prince Louis eventually tie the knot, they will all have different surnames as well.
This approach can be termed "chronological ethnocentrism." (8) It is clearly evident in the case of women's surnames specifically, and the implications of that issue for their status more broadly.
English surnames can be split into seven types: Occupational; a personal characteristic; a place name; of a family estate; patrynomic or ancestral; or honouring a patron.
He was awarded a PhD at Leicester University in 1970 for his research into Yorkshire surnames, and in 1973 his work was published as Volume 1 of the English Surnames Series.
A couple with different surnames would therefore be charged double for the service, "penalising" unmarried couples and spouses who keep their own names, and children and elderly relatives with different surnames, the charity said.
The pair took to their respective social media accounts and posted an illustration of a locker room, stating their surnames.