Last name: Singh

Found recorded in the spellings of Sinha and Singh, this famous 'surname' is Sikh (Hindi-Indian) in origin. Given the translation of 'The lion', it is perhaps not surprising that it is one of the most popular names in the world, however that is not the main reason. On achieving manhood a young Sikh is granted the name of 'Singh' to imply that he has joined the ranks of his father. The derivation is from the ancient 'sinha' meaning 'lion' and in this sense the name follows the tradition of surnames from Asia and the Indian sub-continent. This is to say that whatever the religion, names tend to follow a similar pattern in that they are like early Anglo-Saxon, descriptive and ornamental and derived from words meaning rule or power or from people or animals believed to possess such attributes. Examples include surnames such as Raja (chief), Aktar (star), and Wali (son of God), although there is also a significant number of locational surnames, given to people who originally were the landowners, or who came from a certain place, and were thereafter named after it. In the case of 'Singh', and it maybe said that as every male Sikh is called 'Singh' it is only outside of India that it becomes a true surname. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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