Smiths, Millers, Priests: European Occupational Surnames

Here is the map of the most frequent occupational surnames in European countries and the corresponding trades.


Country Surname Transliteration
Belarus Кавалёў Kavalyow
Bulgaria Попов Popov
Greece Παπαδόπουλος Papadopoulos
Macedonia Поповски Popovski
Russia Кузнецов Kuznetsov
Serbia Поповић Popovic
Ukraine Мельник Melnyk

I made it with Cartopy, Shapely, and Natural Earth data. The surnames are taken mainly from the appropriate Wikipedia page. Redditors provided data for Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, and Catalonia (Ferrer = Smith), as well as corrected my mistakes in Ukraine and Austria. I sincerely appreciate their help. Click on the links to see relevant comments.

This is a quick hack, not serious research. The map takes into account countries rather than ethnic or cultural areas (update of October 1, 2015: now the maps of Spain and Serbia include the most frequent Catalan and Kosovar occupational surnames, respectively). The approach is simplistic: I always picked the most frequent occupational surname even though Wikipedia aptly notices that in the Netherlands the set of {Smit, Smits, Smid, de Smit, Smet, Smith} outnumbers both {Visser, Visscher, Vissers, de Visser} and {Bakker, Bekker, de Bakker, Backer}. Similarly, redditors commented that {Schmidt, Schmitt, Schmitz, Schmid} outnumber {Meier, Meyer, Maier, Mayer} and {Müller} in Germany, {Maier, Mair, Mayer} outnumber {Huber} in Austria, {Seppälä, Seppänen} outnumber {Kinnunen} in Finland, and {Herrero, Herrera, Ferrer} outnumber {Molina} in Spain. I learned that occupational surnames are alien to Nordic countries so Möller and Møller are relatively rare imports in Sweden and Norway, that Molina and Ferreira are “second-order occupational surnames” as they derive from places rather than from professions, and that surnames in Turkey are so recent invention that Avcı probably was not a real occupation.

In case this is not obvious, the disappearance of the smallest countries on the map is not my fault.

The code is available on Bitbucket. Please leave a comment if you know how to fill the blank spots or have other ideas for improvement.

Smiths, Millers, Priests: European Occupational Surnames

Pus no us desment ignorança l’entendre…

Bo zrozumienia błąd nie wyklucza,
bo rozumiejąc, wiedzę pojmujesz;
bo pojmowanie prawdy naucza;
bo przez naukę mą miłość czujesz,

by się nie bronić, gdy się miłuje;
by nie zraniła twej czci obrona;
by cześć nie była po to wzmocniona,
by mocniej chronić, czego-ć brakuje.

Jak mi brak dobry tylu dóbr wzbrania?
Jak we wzbranianiu jest taka stałość?
Jak stałość tworzy z litością całość?

Przejaw litości do trosk mnie skłania:
tak się skłonności te wychwalało,
z chwałą miłości godne zrównania.

Coat of arms of Catalonia

Coat of arms of Catalonia. Source: Wikipedia

This is the Polish translation of the first Catalan sonnet, written by Pere Torroella around the middle of the 15th century. I translated and published it to celebrate September 11, the National Day of Catalonia. Here is the original:

Pus no us desment ignorança l’entendre,
pus entanent persabeu conaxença;
pus conaxent, veniu lo ver compendre;
pus compranent, sentiu ma benvolença

que, benvolent, jamés prova defença
que, defanent, offensàs vostr· onor
que d’onrrament no fos causa magor,
que majorment guordeu vostra fallença.

Qual falliment bé de tants béns me negua?
Qual negament mostra tal fermetat?
Qual fermetat ligua tant pietat?

Piedossament mos enuigs no desplegua,
desplegament per tants juis aprovat:
provablement mèrits d’amor replegua.

Pus no us desment ignorança l’entendre…