Created By: Lhys on May 8, 2013 Last Edited By: Lhys on May 9, 2013

Longlived family name

When descendants of a family retain the same surname through unbelievably many generations

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Donít know if it ought to be a trope (or if it already is), but sometimes in fiction it seems like family names are ridiculously durable. Fair enough that the names of noble and royal bloodlines are carefully preserved, but others make somewhat less sense even when taking into account that a name does not always have to be passed down through a legitimate male heir.

Do We Have This One??


Seeley Booth from Bones is stated to be a descendant of John Wilkes Booth and retains his surname almost 150 years later (despite John Wilkes Booth never marrying).

The Argent family from Teen Wolf can supposedly trace their ancestry back to an Argent who hunted werewolves in 1767.

Michael Corvin from Underworld retains the surname Corvinus minus the Ėus suffix, making the family name about 1000 years old.

The Van Helsing family name is also passed down through several generations in various medias, though the generation gap varies.

The Simpsons' family name has managed to survive nine generations.

The Mc Duck family goes back at least five generations, but seems to be much, much older.
Community Feedback Replies: 8
  • May 8, 2013
    • In Cordwainer Smith's book Norstrillia, the protagonist's name is Rodrick Fredrick Ronald Arnold William McArthur McBan - the one hundred fifty first. And the humans in this novel's universe have an immortality drug that allows them to live for up to 1000 years or so!
  • May 8, 2013
    In the Chzo Mythos, almost every character who has a last name has an ancestor or descendant (Or both) in the form of another character. And in each and every case, these characters all share the same last name despite being separated by up to 5 centuries. Interestingly this has no particular baring on the plot. Yahtzee himself pretty much admit he put it in due to some descendant fetish.
  • May 8, 2013
    In Angels In America, the full name (not just the surname) "Prior Walter" has been passed down as a family name for centuries, including one in the Bayeux Tapestry (11th or 12th century).
  • May 9, 2013
    In A Song Of Ice And Fire noble family names last a very long time. The Stark name lasts about 8000 years as of the start of the series.
  • May 9, 2013
    In the first Blackadder series, in the year 1485 Prince Edmund decides to call himself "the Black Adder." In every other iteration of the series the protagonist, a direct descendant of Prince Edmund, is named Edmund Blackadder, even as the family's social status descends; his servant is also always named Baldrick.
  • May 9, 2013
    • The Belmont clan of Castlevania who has fought Dracula throughout his various revivals. One of the only exceptions is Reinhardt Schneider, from Castlevania 64. He doesn't bear the name but is still a close enough relation to wield the Vampire Killer whip.
    • Averted in Jojos Bizarre Adventure. The name "Joestar" didn't last beyond Joseph, grandson of the original Johnathan Joestar. His only child Holly married a Japanese man and the name changed to Kujo. Every major member of the clan, however, can be linked to the nickname "Jojo."
    • In Harry Potter, family names can indeed stretch back quite far and, even in the cases that don't there are records for family names that simply "went extinct in the male line." Meaning the bloodline continues, but the name stopped because of a lack of male descendants.
  • May 9, 2013
    • In Reflections Of Eterna, the four Ducal houses (Alva, Oakdell, Epine, Pridd) and most of their vassal clans essentially trace their family names all the way back to the creation of the world by the four creator deities whose mortal representatives they are supposed to be. This is justified in-universe by a magical law dictating that no Duke can die unless there exists a male heir to pass on their title and powers to. According to the same law, when the Dukes start dying without heirs, it spells the impending End Of The World As We Know It.
  • May 9, 2013
    ^^^ The name Blackadder goes back even further than 1485, as in Blackadder Back And Forth we meet the Roman centurion Blaccadiccus.

    • In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, a throwaway gag reveals that there was "an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine" which means that Zaphod Beeblebrox's father was Zaphod Beeblebrox II, his grandfather was Zaphod Beeblebrox III and so on. In Life The Universe And Everything, in a historical flashback scene set billions of years ago, we meet a Zaphod-like character called Zipo Bibrok 5 x 10^8.