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(1) A person’s family name. The surname is acquired at birth; changes in personal status through such circumstances as adoption or marriage may result in a change of surname.

Surnames first became hereditary among the aristocracy of ancient Rome. As a rule, an individual’s surname derived either from his birthplace or from the location of his family landholdings. In Western Europe the use of surnames became common in the 15th century, especially among the upper classes. In Russia, surnames were introduced by law in the 16th century, first for the princes and boyars and later for the dvoriane (nobility) and leading merchants. Only after the abolition of serfdom did surnames come into use among the peasantry.

Under Soviet law, a child’s surname is determined by the surname of his parents. If the parents have different surnames, the child is given either his mother’s or father’s surname by agreement of the parents. If the mother is unmarried and paternity has not been established by a joint declaration of the parents or by a court decision, the child assumes his mother’s surname. The surname of an adopted child may be changed to that of his new family if the adoptive parent so requests. If, however, the child is ten or older, his consent is required before his surname may be altered.

A married couple may share the surname of either spouse, or each spouse may retain his original family name. Some Union republics, such as the Azerbaijan, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian SSR’s, permit married couples to adopt compound surnames consisting of the surnames of both spouses.

In cases of divorce or annulment, the conditions and procedures for changing a surname are prescribed by the laws on marraige and the family. In other situations, changes are regulated by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of Mar. 26, 1971, On the Changing of Surnames, Given Names, and Patronymics by Citizens of the USSR. Changes are also regulated by the Statute on Reviewing Petitions by Citizens of the USSR Regarding Changes of Surnames, Given Names, and Patronymics, which was ratified by the Council of Ministers of the USSR on Aug. 20, 1971.

(2) The Russian word for surname, familiia, may also mean family or clan.

(3) The Russian word for surname, familiia, is also applied to the familia, a Roman economic and legal unit consisting of the extended family and its slaves.

References in periodicals archive ?
Census Bureau's list of most common surnames by race and Hispanic origin, Taylor said.
Royals with the title "His Royal Highness Prince" or "Her Royal Highness Princess" also don't need to use a surname.
The marital surname tradition is more than just a tradition.
Beckham Becks' surname is from East or West Beckham in Norfolk and means the homestead of a man called Becca.
ACS Ayoub Carpet Service's application to register the mark Ayoub was initially rejected on the basis that it was primarily merely a surname.
It remained essentially a West Riding surname and scores of taxpayers were listed there in 1672.
Certain surnames are often found amongst the gypsy travelling families," says Society expert Dianne Sutton.
Within the more than 13,000 papers contained in that data are 33 papers written by 28 unique pairs of surname-sharing coauthors, with no examples of surname sharing by more than two coauthors.
A Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP) candidate from Buxar is contesting this time as Dadan Yadav, a surname he had not used in the past two general elections from the same constituency.
Still the most common surname in the country, and the second-most common in Britain, it's not surprising that dozens of famous faces belong to a Jones.