Recently I have started building a family tree on ancestry.co.uk . It's turning out to be a lot of fun. One view is called your pedigree, like a prize bull or a Crufts winner. What is fascinating to me is that I am naturally predisposed to having an affinity with the name McDermott, my father's name, his father's name etc. My great grandparents, the earliest was born around 1880 and the most recent died in 1978 (I met at least two of them), like most peoples' great grandparents they had 8 different birth names. Each of these names is as influential on me as McDermott, so for posterity here they are:
McDermott "a famous royal and noble Irish surname" :-P
Gladden "the Old English C.7th word "gloed", probably means 'the people of the merry, joyful one'"
Sherman "this famous surname is English, it was originally an occupational surname for a cloth-finisher"
Chambers "is of French origin, and is an occupational name for an officer charged with the management of his lord's private living quarters"
East "is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Olde English pre C.7th "east", east, and is topographical for someone who lived in the east"
Chawner "of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational surname for a maker or seller of blankets"
Bowyer "an English occupational name for one who made or sold bows"
Atkinson "This famous surname is regarded as being of Anglo-Scottish origins, although with Norman antecedents - Son of Adam"
So purely on the origins of my great grand parents' surnames I am, 12.5% Irish, 62.5% English/Anglo Saxon and 25.0% Norman/French.