Meanings of the surnames for the Bair family and related families

Meanings of the Family Names

    The original spelling of the German name "Bär" (meaning a beast) is now standardized as "Baer" in Germany and Switzerland. (The established Bär families had a coat of arms with a bear carrying three sheaves.)
    The spelling has been translated in America in at least 38 official different ways. In one instance, in the early 1800's, the same man's name was spelled five different ways on a land title in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    The most common spelling was "Bear" before the War of 1812. From then until just following the Civil War, the name continued to be spelled "Bear." At that time, some of the families changed the spelling of their surname to "Bair." Studies on the European history of the "Bair" family thus far indicate that the most probable areas of success are the vicinities of Bern and Zurich, Switzerland, and the Northern Kraichgau (south of Frankfort on Mainz) e.g. Durham, Germany.
    Migrations from Switzerland to Germany and thence to America during the late 1600's and early 1700's were the result of religious, political and economic turmoil going on during that period.
    The usual procedure was to move by boat to Germany from Switzerland for four or five years; then travel down the Rhine River to Holland and take the small English ships to England for a short stay (where they were required to swear an oath of allegiance as subjects under the British Government); thence travel by these tiny boats for months to the New World. Many died enroute of scurvy and unsanitary conditions in these crowded ships.
    Source: "History of Samuel Bear/Bair Family, 1717 - 1984" (Microfilm #103572, LDS Library)

    Definition: Of the barn (barley house), this British surname is often derived from a significant barn in the local region. A possibly alternative origin can be suggested by the parish of Barnes in Aberdeenshire, Scotland which derives its name from the Gaelic word "bearn," meaning "gap."
    Surname Origin: English, Scottish
    Alternate Surname Spellings: BARNS, BERNES

    1. German: topographic name for someone who lived by a tree that was particularly noticeable in some respect, from Ger. Baum tree (Middle High German, Old High German boum), or else a nickname for a particularly tall person.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8.
    Note that our Baum family came from Baum-les-Messieurs, in Alcase, so it is likely that they were named after this location. Alcase is the region between Germany and France.

    English (chiefly Norfolk): Habitation name from any of several places so called, of which there is one in Norfolk. Most get the name from the Old English dun hill (see DOWN 1) + ham homestead; one in Ches. originally had as its first element the Old English personal name Dunna (see DUNN 2). A place in Linconshire now known as Dunholme appears in Domesday Book as Duneham and this too may be a partial source of the surname; in this case again the first element is probably from a personal name.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8.

    (Origin Anglo-Saxon) A corruption of Hubert, i. e., bright form, fair hope.
    Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake & CO., 1857.

    This surname is derived from a patronymic name of CG origin. Though Hugh was not a native Welsh forename, the mere fact of its use inevitably led to the formation of a surname. Moreover, it was considered to equate to the Welsh Hywel, and this interchangeability produced an abundant surname (see also HOWELLS). Modern bearers of the surname often choose to spell it Huws. As a med. name in wide use in England, Hugh evolved many diminuative forms. HULLIN is one such name with a significant history in Wales. See also PUGH. (WG2 xxi, Dwnn i, ii, Nicholas.)
    1813-37 (I): This is very much a name of north Wales and especially Anglesey where (at 10% to 13.5%) it occurs at more than ten times the frequency found generally in south Wales. Nevertheless it is found throughout Wales and it is only in the Radnor hundred that it is totally absent.
    Guppy North Wales, 3.5%; South Wales, 0.76%; Monmouthshire, 0.40%; Cheshire, 0.24%; Glouchestershire, 0.14%; Herefordshire, 0.72%; Shropshire, 0.65%.
    Source: The Surnames of Wales, John & Sheila Rowlands, Genealogical Publishing Company, ISBN 0-8063-1516-4.

    Hugh. English: From the Old French personal name Hu(gh)e, introduced to Britain by the Normans. This is in origin a short form of any of the various Germanic compound names with the first element hug heart, mind, spirit. It was a popular given name among the Normans in England, partly due to the fame of St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140 - 1200), who was born in Burgundy and who established the first Carthusian monastery in England. The popularity of the European cognames (French Hugues, Italian Ugo, etc.) perhaps owes more to St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109). In Scotland and Ireland this name has been widely used as an equivalent of Celtic Aodh 'Fire'.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8.
    Hughes. The surname Hughes derives from the first name Hugh and means 'dependant of Hugh'. The first name Hugh is of Old German origin and comes originally from the first name Hugo, which means 'heart or mind'. The name Hugo also appears in Latin (almost certainly from the same source) where it became corrupted to Hewe and Howe. Both of these names, as well as Hugo, now appear as variant surnames.
    The variants Hew, Hewes, Hews, and Hewson often come from a different root - the middle English word 'hewe' meaning 'maidservant'.
    The surname Hughes is found all over England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, though it appears in its greatest concentration in North Wales. Here it may well have Gaelic origins, as does the name when it occurs in those parts of Scotland and Ireland that have remained relatively free from English influence. In these cases, Hughes is descended from the Irish Gaelic first name Aodh and the Scottish Gaelic names Eoghann (in Argyllshire) and Uisdeann (in the remote northwest). In Ireland the names Hugh and MacHugh (son of Hugh) are the equivalent of the Scottish name MacKay. In Wales the name Hughes has sometimes become Pugh, Hew, or Haw.
    All in all, there are nearly one hundred variations of the surname Hughes in present use. These include the first syllable varying from 'Hew-' to 'Huw-' to 'Hu-', and suffixes ranging from '-son', '-kin', and '-man' through to '-in', '-on', '-et', '-ot'. Many of these variations stem from the widespread popularity of teh first name Hugo after the Norman Conquest. As such, the name appears in the 1066 Domesday book records for Huntingdonshire and Suffolk, though by 1084 in the Geld Roll (part of the Domesday Book) the name appeared more recognisably as Willelmus filius Hugonis. The name acheived further popularity through St. Hugh of Avalon, who was Prior of Witham and Bishop of Lincoln at the turn of the thirteenth century.
    The common pet form of Hugh was Hud, hence the surnames Hudd, Hudson, and Hudsmith (from Hudsmough, "Hugh's brother-in-law").
    Source: The Book of Surnames - Origins and Oddities of Popular Names, compiled by Peter Verstappen, Pelham Books, London. 1980. Pages 85-86.

    Joy, mirth, precious; a jewel, a precious stone; a name expressive of fondness.
    Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake & CO., 1857.

    Origin Displayed: English
    Spelling variations include: Jewell, Jewall, Jule, Joel, Jouel and others.
    First found in Wiltshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
    Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Thomas and Walter Jewell settled in Virginia in 1635; Robert Jewell settled in Virginia in 1637; Thomas Jewell settled in Boston Mass. in 1635.
    Source: House of Names website.

    Last Name: Jewell
    English (of Breton or Cornish origin): from a Celtic personal name, Old Breton Iudicael, composed of elements meaning ‘lord’ + ‘generous’, ‘bountiful’, which was borne by a 7th-century saint, a king of Brittany who abdicated and spent the last part of his life in a monastery. Forms of this name are found in medieval records not only in Devon and Cornwall, where they are of native origin, but also in East Anglia and even Yorkshire, whither they were imported by Bretons after the Norman Conquest.
    Source: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
    See also this website for an indepth analysis of the Jewell surname.

    1. English (chiefly W Country): habitation name from one of the places name with the Old English cnoepp hilltop, of which there are examples in Devon, Hants, and Sussex. It may also be a topographic name from the same word used independently.
    2. German: status name for a servant or squire, Ger. Knappe (Middle High German knappe boy, lad, Old High German knapo, a byform of knabo, cong. with Old English cnapa boy, servant). The surname is also borne by Ashkenazic Jews.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8.

    (origin: Ger.) Knappe, a lad, boy, servant, workman; a squire, whence Knave and Knapsack.

    English: occupational name for a miller. The word represents the Northern Middle English term, an agent deriv. of mille, milne MILL, reinforced by the cogn. Old Norse mylnari; in S, W, and Midland England the equivalent MILLWARD was used.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8.

    1) From the Latin "Nicholaus," meaning peoples victory. This surname was very common in medieval times, as shown by the numerous forms of the name and numerous countries of origin. Nicolas is the most common French spelling, while Nicholas and Nichols were most common in England.
    Surname Origin: English, Welsh, French

    2) Nicholas: The forename Nicholas became popular as a saint's name in England in the Middle Ages and gave rise to a large number of English surnames, mainly from diminutive forms, some of which took root in Wales (see COLE, but Nicholas as a surname is much later). Nicholas is found in modes numbers in most parts of Wales in 15th century, but tended to be in the north (Bartrum, 1981). Presumably it dropped out of fashion, for in its strongest area later (as a surname of patronymic origin), north Pembrokeshire, only a small handful are found in 17 century records (though it became more frequent by the 18 century, PemMarr). The surname was frequenty written as Nicolas, and also as Nichol(l)s and survives as this to modern times. (Dwinn i.)
    1813-37 (V): Although chiefly confined to south Wales it is also to be found on the English border in Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire. It is particularly prominent in Pembrokeshire (Cemais 1.5%, Dewisland 1.3%).
    Guppy: Monmouthshire, 0.80%
    Source: The Surnames of Wales, John & Shiela Rowlands. Genealogical Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8063-1516-4. p. 135-136.

    3) (Nicholas, Nichol, Nicholl, Nichol, Nichols, &c.) Nicholas is a modern South Wales surname, wheareas its variants Nichols, Nicholl, &c., found in the conties of Glamorgan and Monmouth, are among the earliest permanent family names of those counties. The surname in its original form is traceable to the influence of the Religious Revivals of this century (19th century) and the last in south Wales, while its derivatives came to Wales through Norman sources. A bishop of Llandaff, consecrated in 1147, bore the name of Nicholas ab Gwrgant. Hwe as a brother of Iestyn, prince of Glamorgan. This Bishop, who died in 1183, was celebrated for his piety and for the love he entertained towards his fellow-countrymen.
    Source: Welsh Surnames, reprinted from "By-Gones", copyright 1996. Caxton Press, Oswentry. p. 12.

    English: metonymic occupational name for a grower or seller of peas, or nickname for a small and insignificant man, from Middle English pese, originally a collective singular (Old English peose, pise, from Latin pisa), from which the mod. E vocab. word pea is derived by folk entymology, the singular having been taken as a plural.
    Source: Dictionary of Surnames, Flavia & Hodges, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211592-8

    Definition: An ethnic or geographical name signifying a native from Scotland or a person who spoke Gaelic.
    Surname Origin: Scottish, English
    Alternate Surname Spellings: SCOT, SCOTTE, SCOTTEN, SCHOTT, SCOTH, SCUTT
    Source: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

    Meaning: Wolf's cottage.
    Origin Displayed: English
    Spelling variations include: Woolcott, Woolacott, Wolcott, Wolcotte, Woolcotte and others.
    First found in Devonshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.
    Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Henry Wolcott arrived in Nantasket Mass. with seven relatives in 1630; Francis Woolcott arrived in Philadelphia in 1852; Thomas Wolcott arrived in Philadelphia in 1781.
    Source: House of Names website.