7 MARCH 1931, Page 42

From Mr. W. D. Bowman's The Story of Surnames (Rout-

ledge, 7s. 6d.) the uncritical reader will get some instruction, he will be interested in the origin and meaning of many curious names, and he will learn by copious examples from what main sources—patronymic, occupational, territorial and nicknames—our principal surname-groups have flowed. All this he will certainly enjoy. But he must not lean his entire confidence on Mr. Bowman, for, though there is much that is entertaining and historically sound in the book, there are also grave deficiencies. The author does not tell us for one thing that the explanation of a large proportion of surnames must be to a great extent conjectural merely. He is at times inconsistent, explaining the name Doggett, for example, in two different ways on pages 189 and 242, and he too often coolly shirks difficulties. Occasionally to is simply reckless and inaccurate : Bertram cannot mean " glorious raven from hram, raven," for hram does not mean raven. One would expect from a philologist some knowledge of Latin, but Mr. Bowman will allow himself to write (p. 112) " a Magi " (as who should say " some magician ") and alludes (p. 163) to the " Encados by Garvin Douglas." There is no such word as " the Anglo-Saxon mus," mouth ' - Colquhoun is not pronounced Coohoon ; and the whole book simply bristles with misprints.

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