What does a phrase like "dit St Pierre" mean, when it follows a surname?

For example: Marie-Anne Romure dit St Pierre

2 Answers 2


In this case dit means alias. So Marie-Anne Romure was her given name but everyone knows her as Marie-Anne St Pierre and that is the name that she uses in every day life. There is a bit more information on this site that may help.


The French dit identifier is identifying something or referring to something about the person or person's family. It is not a conveyance such as de or du. It is not an alias, nickname or last name which are incorrect English translations!

French "dit" or "dite" names were''' identifiers''' used by French families,  that describe the person based on a variety of possible definitions including French surname linage, maiden name genealogy, geography, guilds, master craftsmanship, military loyalties, seigneur relationships, military status ...etc etc etc

They are not "last names", "nick names" or "aliases." Unfortunately, English transcribers have incorrectly defined them as "aliases." The Old World French never referred to dits as "last names", "nick names" or "aliases." Originally dit did not have a true English translation and thus modern attempts have unfortunately followed English forms.

Many French Nouvelle Francaise and Louisanne families carried their dit identification from their origins in France, Netherlands and Britain when they migrated to North America.

Eventually most dit and dite identifiers use were dropped as families became nationalized

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! If you find information that would help others with their research (such as websites which list some of the identifiers you talked about, or articles that talk about when the dit/dite identifiers were dropped), and would like to add that to your answer, you can use the edit button beneath your answer. Hope you enjoy the site!
    – Jan Murphy
    Feb 12, 2017 at 19:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.