Girl names turned surnames

I’ve written before about boy names that have “gone girl” but I’ve compiled a small list of names that started out as feminine first names that then became surnames, and I think (though I could be wrong) that last names as first names historically tended to be given to boys? Can anyone verify that? (I know the South has different traditions regarding last names as first names for girls.)

I’m sure there are much more than this, but these are just what I happened upon while reading Reaney & Wilson this morning:

Annas, Anness, Annis, Anniss are all from Old French Anés, which was “the vernacular form of Agnes”

Annatt, Annett, Annetts, Annott are from Ann-ot, which was a diminutive of Ann, which was a pet-form of Annes (Agnes)

Ebbetts, Ebbitt, Ebbutt may be from Ebbot or Ebbet, which were diminutives of Ebb for Ibb, which was a pet-name for Isabel

Emmatt, Emmet, Emmett, Emmitt, Emmott, Emmert, Emett, Hemett all from Emmot, which could be from a place in Lancashire, but also “Emmot was a very common pet-name for Emma”

Ibbelot, Iblot from Ibb-el-ot, a double diminutive of Ibb, which could be a pet form of Isabel (also of Ilbert)

Ibbott, Ibbett, Ibbitt, Hibbit, Hibbitt, Hibbott, Ibbs, Hibbs can all come from Ibb or Ibb-ot, which is a diminutive of Ibb

Ibell, Hibble, Hible from Ib-el, a diminutive of Ibb

Ibson means “son of Ibb”

Ibbelot, Iblot are from Ibb-el-ot, which is a double diminutive of Ibb

Libby, Lebby were surnames from pet names of Isabel

Libbet, Libbett from Libb-et, from Libb, which was a pet form of Isabel

The thing I love most about these is their possibility as fresh-seeming nicknames or variants of Agnes, Emma, Isabel, and Elizabeth for girls (I’ve actually heard of a woman named Elizabeth who goes by Libbett), and variants for honoring female relatives for boys (like, naming a boy Emmett after Grandma Emma or Hibbs after Grandma Elizabeth or Isabel). What do you all think?

4 thoughts on “Girl names turned surnames

  1. My MIL has always pronounced our daughter Elisabeth’s name like “Libbett”. I thought she was trying to sound sing-songy and cute, but maybe it’s just that she heard of the nickname and decided to try it out. Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve loved Anais and Anise for a few years, now reading this I think they could totally be a St Agnes namesake. I only recently learned Inez is in that family as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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