I am fascinated by names and their meanings - most especially, surnames. I was told once that the suffix "-ing" means "people of." (possibly Saxon...anyone?)
As Mac- is Scot for 'son of,' and O'- is Irish for the same, so too is '-s' in dutch.
Smith, Weaver, Taylor, Miller are pretty straight forward, and I heard of an English name 'Sykes' because the family came from an area where there were rather a lot of them in the fields.
My name is Prouting, and since my origin is English, does that mean I am decended from the 'People of Prout?' The surname on my mother's side is Hamlin. This is easier - the Hamlins came from a place in England known as Ham Hill - famous (??) for its Ham Stone. So doesn't that mean '-lin' is the tag meaning "people of?"
To go further, my mother belongs to the Scotish Clan of Robertson. Why are they anglicised to Robert-son, when my friend remains Gaelic with Mac-Donald?
I had a friend at school whose last name is Risk. She told me that after a lot of research her family discovered they had not always been "Risks" but after a terrible voyage (probably to New Zealand or America) they were trying to cross a river. Half the family said "screw that, I choose life," and the other half said "well risk it." (pls note my extensive use of poetic liscence.) Lo! and behold the family members who made it to the other side thenceforth became known as the Risks.
Again on my mother's side there is the German name - Nieman. I was telling Mum (after a few German lessons at school) that when an 'i' and an 'e' are placed together in a german word, the second vowel is sounded. For example, german for four - vier - is pronounced 'fear.' The 'e' is second, the 'e' is sounded. But with the number two - zwei - the vowel sound is quite clearly and 'i' as in sky. ;-)
Therefore (after all that) the name is pronounced Nee-man. After this lecture Mum looked at me and smiled a little before explaining that the family changed their original spelling, from Neiman to Nieman, to make it look less German during the war. So that was the end of that!
Where does your name come from?