Surnames are the last identity for everybody. From ages past, there are common denominators of surnames in Yoruba language. Surnames can be traced to particular dialects and tribes; it is the attribute of the ancestry of persona involved. In Yoruba language, surname is called Oruko-Baba meaning the father’s name. Surnames have a lot of value in people’s lives, it can determine how you will be welcome within the clan. This article is a description of surnames in the Yoruba kingdom.

ROYALTY: There are surnames that evolve from royal family. Such people usually have the appellation of Ade and Oye to their names. Whenever such names are mention, it is definitely a name that has a link to the throne of one town or another. Such people are to be treated with respect because the culture holds the throne or crown in high esteem.

CRAFT: Many families are prominent with a particular type of job that they do, such crafts have become hereditary. Such names are Agbede, Ayan amongst others. Such people are proud of the name, the craft and they carry it from one generation to generation.

CHIEFTAINCY TITLE: There are some surnames that are known to the chieftaincy title, those names have turned to surnames. Names such as Balogun and Otun.

RELIGIOUS NAME: There is any tribe or culture that does not have a religion. There are many religious beliefs within the Yoruba tribe. Names like Fatade, Sangokunle, Ogunwale, Efunsetan all acknowledge the belief in one god or the other. These names happen to also be the first name of some people based on the allegiance to the god or circumstances surrounding the birth of the person. NICKNAME: Nicknames of the ancestor has become the surnames of some families. This happened in a such a way that the real identity of the person is lost in the nickname. Nicknames like Aguntasholo, Ibadi Aran, Okolo, Eyinafe have turned to surnames. The easiest way of retaining the fame of the progenitor is by changing the nickname into a surname.

CELESTIAL NAME: This is interesting; in the Yoruba belief the name of a child can be derived from the way in which he came into the world. Such names are Ige,Dada, Oke, Aina, Ajayi, Taiye, Kehinde. Such names are usually not debated, it is as a result of the mode of birth. PRAISE NAME: Praise name is the name that is particular to you in a family. Praise name can be divided into sub-catgories like:

 LINEAGE PRAISE NAME: The lineage praise name is the name that is for a particular family or lineage examples of such names are Ologbin, Onikoyi and Opomulero . The praise name for these families are different, it extols the virtue of their ancestor, it is usually in a poetic form, it tells stories of what the family is about and what they stand for.

 PERSONAL PRAISE NAME: The person praise name is for individuals. As typically said, it makes “the head swell”. Personal praise names include Akande, Akanke, Adigun amongst others.

 PRAISE NAME WITH APPELLATION: This is sounding confusing, there are some praise names that has an appellation at the end of it. One of such names are Adeniji-Apata.

INDIVIDUAL NAME: It is the name that is always known with the Yorubas, these names have been discussed in my writing titled, Etymology: Prefix AND Suffix as Variant of Yoruba Names, click here to read the article,  Such names are the Temilola, Olatundun, Olaotan, Bayonle, Oluwaseun and others

PREMATURE- DEATH-STOPPING NAME: I tagged it premature death link names. These names are given to those who usually die at a very young age thereby leaving the family to agonize. As a way of keeping them from dying, they give them some particular names like Kokumo, Igbekoyi, Ikukoyi, Aja, Ajitoni, Kosoko, Durojaiye and other similar names.

At this present age, people still bear these names. Some know the origin of their name while some does not know how they came by the name they bear. Names have re-evolved across Yoruba land.

REPATRIATED NAME: Repatriated names are names that returned to Africa after the slave trade. The names are from aborigines who found their way back to their roots examples of those names are related to locations like Lagos, Badagry Abeokuta and some other riverine communities where slave trade thrived, names like Braithwaite, Gomez, McCarthy, Crowther.

COMPOUNDED NAME: The compounded names have re-evolved due to Westernizations, names like Akin-George, Fani-Kayode amongst others. Some names are compounded as a result of keeping the memory of someone, who died early in life but with a family, alive, to retain the maiden surname most done by daughters of prominent people and also to add the husband’s name to his surname for example Olufunmilayo Gbenga-Oguntoye, meaning that she is of Gbenga Oguntoye’s generation out of the Oguntoye’s family.

These are the various strata of Yoruba surnames. Can you identify where your surname belongs to? Yoruba have a structure and you will definitely fall into a category of all these structure. We have an heritage to showcase always. I am proud to be a Yoruba man.

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