>> Is it too obvious to mention that the name a person or group is known by
>> is not always the name that they themselves would choose?
>> An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, Alba (Isle of Skye, Scotland)
>Obviously one does not chose a name one inherits. But it is not uncommon
>for a person to change his name to put himself in a better light. Surnames
>are overwhelmingly reflective of the personal forename of an ancestor, the
>occupation of a forbearer, or a geographical place of origin. These names
>can be corrupted, but I can't think of any instances where a name that is
>derogatory would redily be adopted.
"In 1787, Joseph II of Austria passed a law which required all Jews to
adopt a hereditary surname and similar rules were made throughou Europe
with Russia one of the last countries to make one in 1845. Some officials
in Austria and Germany would only register names with favourable meanings
if they were paid and as many could not afford this, they were assigned
surnames with derogatory meanings."