Name Badges UK Trivia: A Look at the History behind Surname Use January 16 2014

Have you ever wondered about the history behind names? We all know that when we’re born, we’re given a first and last name by our parents. But when did that tradition start? We think that you may be surprised by the answer.


According to historical records, surnames did not exist in the UK the way that they do now until after 1066. Prior to that, people were referred to by their first name. In instances when more than one person shared a first name, an additional one was added. The additional name given was typically based on a characteristic that made you unique from all the other Olivers, Jacks and Harrys in the world. Thus, you may have become Oliver from Overland, Jack the blacksmith or Harry from Hertfordshire.

When a person moved or changed professions,

they often changed surnames too. So Oliver from Overland could eventually become Oliver from Kent. Harry from Hertfordshire could later be known as Harry from Hempstead. The naming process was all very fluid until around 1400, when people seemed to grow tired of frequently changing their names. Of course that doesn’t mean that the name changing stopped completely. People are still doing it today. However, the process is a lot more complicated than it used to be. There is usually paperwork to complete and new monogrammed items to buy.

family history quilt

The good news is that we can help make part of the process easier. We offer a wide array of name badges, card holders, ID cards, custom lanyards and more. So whether you decide to go from being James to Joshua or Isabella to Isabelle, we’ve got you covered. Our family has been in the badge making business for years. We offer design assistance and don’t require minimum orders for crested name badges. You’ll even get to choose from a variety of name badge backings. In addition, we make PVC ID cards too.