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A unique reference work, this international dictionary is a systematic, comparative survey of the origins and meanings of some 100,000 currently used surnames of European origin, as they are presently found throughout the world. With the help of consultant editors in specific areas--particularly for Jewish, Spanish, and Gaelic names--the authors present information about the language or region in which the surname originated, major events in the history of noted names, the original meaning, peculiarites of regional distribution, and in some cases the form, date, and location of early instances of the name. Uniquely organized to allow comparison between names that share the same etymology, the dictionary groups together within a single entry many different cognate and variant forms, including diminutives and patronymics. A comprehensive alphabetical index allows easy cross-referencing. Summarizing a wealth of historical and etymological information in a clear and concise manner, the dictionary will be interesting and accessible to the general reader, and an essential reference tool for historians, genealogists, philologists, and local family history societies.