New Occupational Surnames

Throughout history, (and in many cultures), many surnames have reflected people’s occupations (e.g. Barber, Farmer, etc.), and I wonder if surnames will continue this trend.

Will there be (or are there already) surnames like Engineer, Photographer, Scientist, etc.?

I dunno, it’s an interesting question but, is anyone creating new surnames? Sure there’s people who legally change their names, and I’m sure there are some cultures out there that don’t have surnames, but as a whole, I imagine surnames are pretty much established.

My corollary question is, when was the last new surname created? Probably a difficult thing to track, I guess.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s a lot of black activists changed their surnames to X, but no one seems to use that one anymore.

My surname means “small deerskin purse” in Polish, and while I actually made one at summer camp some years ago, no one in my family has that vocation. Writing “Customerservicerepresentative” would take too long, so if I’m going to switch my name to match my job, I’d better get a new job. Had I done this earlier, my name would be “Dishwasher” or “Pizzaguy” or “Paperboy” or “Work-studystudentwhoworksinthecampuslibrary,” so it’s just as well.

I do most of the proofreading on this job, so I guess my surname will be Proofreader. Or if I go back to teaching ESL, I could make my surname “ESL”—but I dread the thought of everyone asking me how to pronounce that…

People legally change their names all the time, sometimes to a name they have created themselves. However, I would think they rarely change it to the name of a modern profession.

In western cultures surnames are far too well established at present to expect that many will be changed to modern professions. I suppose in Indonesia or other places where people still often don’t use surnames there would be more room for establishment of names of this nature in the local language, but even there I would think most people would end up adopting more traditional names.

My favorite recent occupational surname change was that of Luke Montgomery, a radical gay activist who legally changed his last name to “Sissyfag.”

Of course when the attention from that started wearing off he went all conservative preppy and changed it back to Montgomery.

It is perhaps unlikely that such a name would end up being passed on to descendents. :wink:

Randomly poking around our 130,000 or so employee email directory…

We have three people with the last name Coder
Two have Bank as their last name, and four Bankers
A handful of Drivers
One real person named Tester
One person named Pilotte - not quite, but close!

But also in the modern world, people change their professions far more often than they did during fuedal times before surnames became well established. That might make it problematic, since not only does the baker’s son not necessarily become a baker, but the baker himself might be an administrative assistant in two more years, a salesperson two more years after that, and an electrician three years later.

I’ve seen “Laser” as a surname, but I wonder if the name derives from some obscure word predating the laser beam.

I’ve seen Engineer as a surname for some from India; however, I do not now how ancient that name is for families.

I swear I’ve read about people with the surname “mechanic.” This would probably be the most recent example of a true occupational surname, and the only one, at that.

Any of them named “Mike”?

mmmm… since I work at the Ford plant in Oakville that would make me Darin Van Builder. And I wouldn’t have to change my initials. Now I’ll work on my Johnny Cash cover “A Boy Named Sissyfag”

The Morris Mechanic Theater is named after a Baltimore theater owner. I don’t know whether his name was chosen for his ancestors’ occupation, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other reason.

FWIW, my father (who came through Ellis Island in 1910) told me that immigrants to the US were frequently assigned names based on their trade – if you were a Polish shoemaker with a big long unpronounceable name, you might have entered America as Mr. Shoemaker.

Polish that up a bit and you’ve got yourself a limerick!

I knew a father and son by that name, both in the printing business.

Mechanic enters the English language in around 1549, according to the OED. It’s use has changed, expanded and contracted over the centuries, but there’s absolutely nothing new about the concept or profession.

It’s has changed too, but not when it should be its. :smack:

Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream includes a group of “rude mechanicals” (craftsmen) led by Bottom the Weaver.

I doubt any of these have any modern influence. ‘Banker’ referred to somebody who lived on a hillside (i.e. a bank), and teste was a French nickname for somebody with large head. And surely you’re not claiming driving to be a new occupation?