“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” And when it comes to the medieval adventurer, that may be true. But what we do know about our hero's surname, Snow, is that it’s not very popular – it barely cracks the top 4,000 when compared to the other last names on Earth. We also know that Snow has its origins in Old English language…and thus, it originated on the European continent.
Do you have any idea where your own surname originates? Or are you still convinced that “Smith” probably pinpoints your ancestors somewhere in the area of Moscow?
Last names offer incredible clues and insights into everyone who has one. It says something about where your ancestors lived and maybe even what they did to make a living. Even the particular spelling of a surname changes, depending on the movements of peoples around the world.
Digging into the origins of last names doesn’t just reveal a geological place, it unearths a whole subculture that’s affected by economics, politics, and even war. As a result, many families changed their last names (or altered the spelling) to make themselves more acceptable in new societies.
So whether you’re a Smith or Sitnikov, your name tells a story. Take our quiz and see if you can match these surnames to the places they came from!
How much do you know about how car engines work? And how much do you know about how the English language works? And what about how guns work? How much do you know? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks is about more than providing great answers about how the world works. We are also here to bring joy to your day with fun quizzes, compelling photography and fascinating listicles. Some of our content is about how stuff works. Some is about how much you know about how stuff works. And some is just for fun! Because, well, did you know that having fun is an important part of how your brain works? Well, it is! So keep reading!