Surname - from the Latin familia - family - a generic, family name assigned to each person. Since ancient times, a surname has served as a certain distinctive feature of a person: the name of the father or ancestor, one's own profession or ancestor, some traits of character or appearance.
Most modern professions are associated with the names of the founders of the genus in a broad sense. A striking example is the textbook trinity Ivanov, Petrov, Sidorov. Removing the suffix "ov" characteristic of the middle band (in soft versions - "ev"), we get the name of one of our ancestors. More accurate information can be suggested by the stress in the surname. For example, among peasants with the surname Ivanov, it was customary to emphasize the last syllable, and among noblemen and eminent families - on the second. The clergy changed their surname to "John".
By the way, about the clergy. Surnames with the suffix "sky" can be not only Polish, but also priestly: Epiphany, Znamensky, Krestovozdvizhensky. If you bear a similar surname, your ancestor served in a church dedicated to the Epiphany (Epiphany, will be held on January 19 in a new style), the icon of the Mother of God "Sign" (December 10) or the Erection of the Cross (October 14).
Slavic surnames are also formed with the help of diminutive suffixes "onk" ("enk"), "chuk", "uk", "yuk": Osipenko, Kovalchuk. In the first case, we can talk about the name of the ancestor - Osip (Joseph), in the second - about the type of activity (blacksmith, blacksmith). Such surnames are typical for Ukraine.
Another suffix is groundlessly considered an attribute of the surname of Russified Jews - "in" ("yn"): Fokin, Fomin, Ivashkin. Doubts about the "Russianness" of these names will disappear if you look at their roots. These are the names: Foka, Thomas, Ivan (dismissive Ivashka). True, two of these names are of Jewish origin.
It is especially worth noting that the institution of a surname for the common people was established in Russia only in the Soviet Union. At this time, active formalization began; in particular, if the surname was dissonant (and there were quite a few of them), citizens could replace it within the framework of the law.
There are cases when people from villages (adolescents 14-15 years old) received surnames along with their passports. For example, a police officer asked a guy a question: "Whose are you?" - "Papanin!" This surname was written in the passport, and later the young man became an actor.