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View Diary: Origins of English: Occupational Surnames (128 comments)

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  •  Wells, my paternal family surname, is English. (1+ / 0-)
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    But its origins are not occupational. The occupational variant for one who makes or digs wells is probably Wellman.

    The origins for Wells, however, arises from a description of a landscape feature near one's dwelling, such as hills, woods and rivers. Some researchers believe Wells derives from the Anglo-Saxon word "waella", which describes not a well, but a spring or pond, and probably one that was associated with a holy place. Thus, it's likely I had a distant ancestor who resided at or near a small body of water associated with worshiping.

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