Around the 12th or 13th Century it became common for surnames (last names) to be passed down the family line.
By the Victorian era they were another way to navigate the class system as working class people were often named based on a family profession and the aristocracy would have last names similar to those of the royal families.
Biblical Victorian surnames
Biblical names were quite popular in the Victorian era and names were borrowed from the New Testament and the Old Testament. Some aristocrats sought inspiration from the Bible to create new names for their families.
Other new surnames were created during the Victorian era. There were various reasons and one of them being migration.
The Victorian Britains had migrated to the United States, Ireland, Asia and the Caribbean which meant that new names were created based upon the new languages and places they had set up home in.
Victorian Surnames originating from a profession
Most working class people had surnames that originated from their families profession or trade.
For example Smith (Blacksmith), Carpenter, Cooper, Dyer, Taylor (Tailor), Fisher, Thatcher, Wright and Weaver.
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Common Victorian English Last Names
In 1853, these were the top 50 most popular surnames (Around 18% of the population)
The Most Popular Victorian Surnames (Ranked)
These were the most popular last names in 1837-1853.