The Advent of Surnames

Surnames were only used for nobility until the 17th century when Napoleon Bonaparte decided that all states within his empire should provide a standardized system of first and last names for each and every person. Most cultures did not subscribe to this model of naming outside of the class of nobility which is why most surnames were originally setup to explain what a person did or where they were from (e.g. Schumacher for a person who makes shoes or Von Berlin for a person from Berlin, Germany etc.)