Many occupations and jobs were necessary for Medieval society to function. Not only did a profession serve to earn a living but it also became a means of identity for the people who held various jobs. Many common surnames stemmed from the profession a person had during the Medieval Ages. Surnames were not frequently used as there were many clans and castes of people.
To illustrate this point, open your telephone book and see how many of these last names appear: Baker, Smith, Bower, Fletcher, Brewer, Butcher, Carpenter, Cartwright, Cook, Dyer, Farmer, Forester, Gardener, Hatter, Herald, Hunter, Mason, Miller, Miner, Painter, Potter, Shepherd, Shoemaker and Weaver. It was very common in the Medieval Ages to refer to someone as "James the Shoemaker" or "Paul the Baker". Thus many surnames originated into families that still exist today.
To learn more about Medieval Occupations, follow the links below.