SDB Popularity Ranking: 22363

Last name: Fortman

SDB Popularity ranking: 22363

Recorded as Fortnam, Fortnum, Fortman, Fortnon, and possibly others, this is a famous and interesting surname. It is 13th century medieval English, and seemingly a nickname. However it owes its origins to an unusual French phrase or oath, one which was introduced after the Norman Conquest of 1066. This was 'fort anon', which translates literally as 'strong young foal', but no doubt had a quite different colloquial meaning in those Chaucerian times. At least a quarter of all English surnames, and a much higher proportion of Irish and Scottish ones, have origins which clearly suggest that they were originally nicknames, where in most cases the precise meaning is shrouded in history. Over the centuries not only has the spelling and meaning of most English words changed, but also the language itself. From 1066 and for some three centuries thereafter, the official language of England was French, and when once again English became the accepted tongue, it underwent a further changes through the Shakespearean form to what we recognize today in the 20th century. In this case the earliest known recording is probably that of Nicholas Fortanon in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in the year 1279. More recent examples taken from surviving church registers of the city of London include Anthonie Fortnam, a witness at the church of St Mary Whitechapel on March 11th 1631, William Fortman who married Jane Parker at St Mary-le-Bone on May 5th 1670, Charles Fortnum, who married Mary Monday at St James Westminster, on December 26th 1767, and John Fortnam who married Eizabeth Dyekes at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster on June 1st 1792

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Surname scroll for: Fortman

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