This is a great article posted on another site (who reposted it from another site, who took it from another), but I thought many would enjoy it here. It is The Lazy Man’s Guide for Constructing a Call of the Cthulhu Adventure, written by Sandy Petersen, original author of the Call of Cthulhu.
Surnames: The Chinese were among the very first cultures to adopt the use of hereditary surnames (around 2800 BC). But the custom didn't quite catch on in Europe - at least not until the Venetian aristocracy made it popular sometime between the 10th and 11th centuries AD. What culture made it popular in your setting and why?