This is an Islamic name which by useage particularly in the west, has become a 'surname'. Islamic names it is said, are or were in classical times, formed according to a strict pattern. This pattern has been varied over the years not the least because it involves at least twelve separate and major languages, thousands of local spellings and dialects, and many different interpretations of the precise translation of the Koran. The pattern sequence may be generally described as the 'kunya' consisting of the fathers name, and the mothers name, the 'nasab' or the relationship to one forebearers, the 'nisba' which gives the place of origin, and the 'laqab' or clan name. As a result a man's name is also literally his history. Unfortunately the requirements of modern life and in particular 'communications', has required that such niceties born upon generations of protocol, often going back many centuries, have been largely swept aside. The exceptions would seem to be within the families themselves and in the rareified atmosphere of diplomacy. In this case 'Mahmood' often spelt Mahmud, is said to be a derivative of Muhammad, meaning 'the praised one,' and a reference to a relationship by birth with the Prophet Muhammad.