Occupational Surnames For The Digital Age

Many British surnames have traditional occupational roots, like Carpenter, Baker, Cartwright,  Thatcher, Tanner, and Shepherd.

More obvious trade surnames include Coleman, Cowman, Plowman, Boatman, and the somewhat less glamorous sounding Workman.

European surnames with origins in professions include LeClerc, Schumacher, Møller, and Pescatore.

Familiar surnames with meanings less clear to the modern ear include:

  • Chapman (Old English for a trader or merchant)
  • Stringer (who did you think made all the strings for the Bowyers?)
  • Chandler (maker of candles)
  • Baumgartner (German for tree gardener)
  • Spicer (yes, a seller of spices or a pharmacist)
  • Messerschmidt (German, a knife smith)
  • Mulder (Dutch, a miller)
  • Palmer (a pilgrim, so-called because of the palm leaf or cross worn to signify the journey)
  • Grover (said to be derived from the Hindi 'Guruvara' - yes, a guru / teacher)

But it's the 21st century now! Who wants to be a Mr Tailor or Mrs Tinker! And as many of the above examples show, most professions are not even things modern people have heard of.

Only a very few current surnames are remotely relevant in the modern era, like Driver, Evangelista, Webster, and Hacker. The German-Finnish entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is one of the few who seems to get it: you don't have to stick with your parent's analog-era traditions.

It's time to update our family names to reflect the professions of today.

Why be Ms Draper when you could be Dr Drupal? Why settle for Mr Hawking when it would be so much cooler to be Mr Tweeting? Surnamed Fleischmann? Upgrade to Hutmulfivemann!

What kids born nowadays wouldn't be off to a better start in life as John Upworthy or Rachel Uber? Wouldn't all the cool kids want to come round to pizza at the Overclockers, birthday parties at the Typographers, or sleepovers at the Hotspots?

At the very least for professional experts like Dave Mixins, Sharon Stattracker, and Max Gurugentoo, it is a sensible way to keep their business card front-of-mind in the competitive digital economy. Modern specialisms like Storyteller, Analyticator, Coin-miner, Scrum-master, and Kickstarterer seem readymade for a trip to the registry office. Meanwhile, renaming to Slashdotter, Redditor, or Facebooker could help you connect with your tribe more strongly.

Not all the modern surnames need be precise professions - full time jobs are so last century anyway. All names need to do is reflect the skills and values of the world we now live in.

We bring you our further ideas, grab them while you still can...

Occupational Surnames For The Digital Age:

Codeman
Buzzwright
Templateon
Viewporter
Likecraft
Mavenly
Seoman
Trendson
Keysmith
Nginxster
Linkfarmer
Disavowler
Shareworth
Perlish
Memeherd
Fontleroy
Floatright
Blockchaindler
Cachewell
Clickbates
Winstaller
Sidebothamalign
Quickpivot
Stocksmiles
Whitespacey
Vinesister
Followbacker
Snarks
Oversharer
Mashings
Lulz

Those looking for a superior European tinge could go for:

Webmeister
Scriptler
L'Ogobrand
Konwertmann
Wordpretre
Meijerkatz
Wiralschreiber
D'Uckfeiss
Grammarnadze
Markøpp-Komplianz
L'Everage
Droneschmidt
Di Sruptio
Privacjov

Finally, if you are about to have a child, you don't have limit your options by the current state of technology. Lorem Ipsum is a perfectly good name until he or she is old enough to pick something more up-to-date.

George Singularity-Earoff

Based on what I actually spend most of my time on, I've updated my digital surname on my business card.