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Self Genealogy and Self Family History Information

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About the Self surname


"Old England, Shelfdwellers and Seawolves" a search for the meaning of the surname SELF. Excerpts from an exclusive article by Richard Self in the Self Family Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 6 - 9, 1983.

There is nothing, nor is there any version or conclusion, that definitely establishes the origin of the surname Self. The two theories that reach furthest into the past and coincidentally are the most logical of the possibilities regarding the origin of the name root themselves in the post-Roman era in England.

One version presents the name as having the meaning "a dweller on or near a rock or ledge, such as a riverbank". The name according to this version was associated with the village of Schelf, a community in Yorkshire, and one of the seventeen villages that joined the union of Halivas. This union was a measure taken for mutual protection against invasion, banditry, and other hazards of the times. ... the name began to appear in 1379, and in various spellings that tended to lead it toward the pronunciation of Self."

"... even though Anglo-Saxonized, is that the name stems directly from the Norseman (Northman) word "sjolfr". This was variously pronounced as "saeulfe", "saeulfr", and "saewulf". It's meaning is Seawolf. ... I think that Old England adopted many of the Norse words with very little change in Pronunciation."

"You can accept your name as coming down from some character who sat on a rock watching the water flow by, or you can believe your name came from a bold, daring, combative seawolf. I'll go for the more exciting of the two versions for my choice."

Editors note: This is but a small portion of a well done 4 page article published in 1983 in the Self Family Newsletter. It was this great article by Richard Self that made us all aware of the possible meanings of our name.


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