英文姓氏辞典

English Surname Dictionary

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Birkenhead

This is an English surname of locational or possibly topgraphical origins. Recorded in the spellings of Birchenhead and Birkenhead, and sometimes confused with Birkett and Birkhead, which have the same meaning and even possibly the same origins, this is a surname which has been recorded in registers and charters since the year 1425. At that time John Byrkheved was recorded as being the vicar of Giggleswick in North Yorkshire, and he may have originated from the (then) village of Birkenhead on the Mersey river in Cheshire. The place name means 'the birch trees on the headland', but as the countryside was probably awash with birch trees during the medieval period and earlier, these must have had some additional significance. Probably they formed a specific feature on the landscape, and as such may have been visible from ships on the river, at a time when navigational aids of any type were minimal. The name is widely recorded throughout the north of England, and is a good example of a locational or 'from' surname. These were names given to people after they left their original homes and moved elsewhere. It being that the easiest method of identifying a stranger was to call him, or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and local accents very thick, lead to the development of variant or 'sounds like' spellings. The name was enobled through the famous barrister, the late Norman Birkett, who became Lord Birkenhead