The English and Scottish surname Black is derived from the Middle English term blak(e) meaning “black’”(Old English blæc, blaca), a nickname given from the earliest times to a swarthy or dark-haired man. The second possible origin is as a shortened form of Blacksmith, a worker in cold metals, as distinct from a White (Smith), one who worked in hot metals. The surname was popular in Scotland from the 15th Century. Adam Black of Edinburgh (1784 - 1874), a publisher, acquired the rights to the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1827. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wulfhun des Blaca which was dated circa 901, in the "Old English Bynames Register."
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