This ancient surname is generally of early English origins, predating the Anglo-Saxons and Normans. It was usually an occupational name for a person employed by an abbot, or perhaps a nickname for one who was thought to conduct himself like an abbot! It is also possible that in some cases the name may refer to the offspring of an Abbot, however as the clergy were supposed to be celibrate there is an area of doubt. The surname also occurs widely in Scotland where it is either of English origin or a translation of MacNab, which also means 'son of the abbot'...
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