In addition to these names which clearly take a feminine form within the name itself, there are also examples of occupational bynames which are presented in a feminine form by virtue of the article la, which is a French feminine form of "the" sometimes used in early English (le is the male form).
Female occupational bynames ending in "ster" (Webster, for example) therefore began to be used for both sexes interchangeably as well.
When bynames became regularly hereditary around the 15th century, women's names over time were largely superseded by men's--but not so much by the advent of hereditary naming as by the stricter customs surrounding whose names got passed down and whose names survived marriage.
320) The word was adapted from the French, Anglicized as "surname," and used to refer to bynames beginning around the 14th century.
Even at the top level of society many men did not possess surnames but were distinguished merely by non-hereditary bynames until long after the Conquest.
They had to be distinguished from each other by bynames, but this does not explain why the bynames became hereditary.
Charriere, Isabelle deoriginal name Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken bynames
Belle van Zuylen, Belle de Charriere, Zelide, Abbe de la Tour (b.