This is NOT a question about people who have surnames that are usually found as given names, such as Rand Paul.

My question relates to the process of Americanization of surnames. For example, I have done genealogical research about descendants of Harry Krewiansky who took the surnames Harris and Harrison, and descendants of Bernard Gogolinsky who took the surname Barney.

  • Why in the world would this have a “term” for it? You simply describe it, and you are done.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 18:12
  • 2
    I take issue with "Americanization" in this context; this process has been happening worldwide, for hundreds of years - certainly since the widespread European adoption of surnames and possibly even longer elsewhere. In Scandinavian-derived names there's the suffix -son / -ssen; in Russian there's the suffix -ov; in Ukrainian -enko; in Armenian -ian / -yan; there are surely other patterns I'm forgetting.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 18:55
  • Armenian tradition is a little unusual in that the same suffix is used both for patronymic and geographic names; Grigoryan is a guy whose ancestor was named Grigor, while Alepyan is a guy whose family came from Aleppo.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 18:59
  • possible duplicate of What is the term for someone who has a last name that can also be a first name? Specifically, this answer Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 19:01

1 Answer 1



a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor usually by the addition of an affix

Also from wikipedia:

A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor.


a name derived from that of the mother or a maternal ancestor

Also from wikipedia:

A matronymic is a personal name based on the name of one's mother, grandmother, or any female ancestor. It is the female equivalent of a patronymic.

For second part of the question, we may call the process as "Anglicisation of Patronymic names" or "Anglicisation of Matronymic names".

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