Wednesday, April 04, 2007

on names

Last Friday morning there was a flurry of activity at my front door. First was the arrival of two boxes of photographs I'd sent myself from the States, in somewhat battered condition but happily intact. I had just settled myself back on the sofa with a book when there was another knock on the door.

There stood a young lady from the post office with an armful of boxes - manna from heaven! She verified my name and handed over the goodies: my belated Christmas gifts from my sister - some address follies with Amazon had kept them going to the wrong address - as well as Season 5 of The West Wing and a couple of knitting notions. I was just about to say goodbye when she mentioned that there had been some confusion because there was a family with the same last name only one street over, at the same number, who have presumably been living in our small town for quite a while. It was only when she double-checked the street name that she came to the right place. I exclaimed that this certainly was a funny coincidence and wished her a nice day.

It's kind of odd for me to have a last name now that, while not as common as our Smiths and Joneses, is common enough for there to be people in the area that we're not related to. My maiden name is so unique in America that I've never heard of any American with the same last name that I'm not related to - and believe me, we've tried. Of course, when I moved here, I had no idea how common my new name was and would jump anytime I saw the name in the credits of a television program, asking Steph if we were related. He eventually explained where the name comes from - not a town (like my maiden name) or a person, but it is derived from a word used to describe those who were in service to the king, centuries ago. It's easy to see how there could be many of these descendants today.

I love learning about family history, both my own and the family I married into. How about you? Do you know where your name comes from?

No comments: