Y is for …

Gatekeeper butterfly. See Yates below.

The latest in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated or implied.

Some commentators on this topic go into lots of detail about derivations, but it seems to me to be unnecessary, in most cases, to go further than the obvious, e.g. Sawyer was a man who used a saw to cut wood.

Mister X

There are no surnames beginning with X in my tree.  Indeed, there are none in Reaney.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Thomas Yardley, born about 1801 (from 1841 census), Shropshire.

From Yardley (Essex, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, or Yarley, Somerset.  Looks like they moved to find work – Thomas was a stone miner in 1841.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Jane Yates, born about 1828, Pattingham, Staffordshire.

From Yate, Gloucestershire, or dweller by gate, gatekeeper.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Joseph Young, born about 1811, Staffordshire.  (1841 census, coal miner, Church Lane, Tipton.)

“A name often used, no doubt, to distinguish a younger from an older man.”

Zed (or Zee in USA)

There are no surnames beginning with Z in my tree, so this is the end of the series.


The first in this series is here:  A is for …

For other letters, simply search for (e.g.) “B is for”.


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