Family names

By admin ~ April 3rd, 2009. Filed under: Census records, surnames.

A family name or last name is a type of surname and part of a person’s name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world. Each culture has its own rules as to how these names are applied and used.
In many cultures (notably Western, Middle Eastern, and African) the family name is normally the last part of a person’s name. In some other cultures, the family name comes first. The latter is often called the Eastern order because Europeans are most familiar with the examples of China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Because the family name is normally given last in English-speaking societies, the term last name is commonly used for family name.

Family names are most often used to refer to a stranger or in a formal setting, and are often used with a title or honorific such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, Dr., and so on. Generally the given name, Christian name, first name, forename, or personal name is the one used by friends, family, and other intimates to address an individual. It may also be used by someone who is in some way senior to the person being addressed.

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