According to the various historical documents I was leafing through yesterday, surnames originally designated a person’s occupation. They also may have described a particular event that related to that person. For instance, John the blacksmith came to be known as John Smith. Or, Michael Little would be so named because he was small in stature. Tom Underhill lived at the bottom of the hill. Jim Baker was a baker… and so on.
Really makes you wonder what was going on in the Dickinson clan way back when.