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Thread: Most remarkable surname(s) in your family tree

  1. #41
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    I've wondered about the surname Westerlin for a while. My gg-grandfather who had that name (his wife was a Björkman) was born Johansson, which is obviously a super common name (and was a patronymic), but changed his name to Westerlin when he came to the US (it is Westerlind on his naturalization papers).

    I finally got a bit more of the backstory. His older brother who came to the US first changed the name, and my gg-grandfather changed his so they would have a family name. According to a cousin who is older and grew up in Nebraska (where the family was), the official family story is that there were so many Johanssons and Johnsons in rural NE where they lived that "Johansson" caused difficulty with mail delivery. So who knows.

    He didn't know why Westerlind became Westerlin, or if Westerlind was even the intended name or just a mistake on the naturalization papers.

    I have another family name that changed -- my French gggg-grandparents came to the US (Ohio) around 1800 with the name Detalente (which seems not to be a common French name, so I wonder about the derivation), and the name changed to Detillion. I suspect it might just be a pronunciation thing.

    I have some likely German names that changed too, although in most of those cases the family also could be English and the name they have of English origin, no change. One known German change is Ohlbach (or possibly Ahlbach, there is conflicting information) becoming Albaugh in America.

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  3. #42
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    This is quite the thread. Really interesting and informative to read. Though I don't have anyone in my family or extended family with remarkable/outta the ordinary surnames, I do find the names Thomas Pynchon gives to his characters really funny. There's "Benny Profane," perhaps the most popular. The "Pig Bodine," "Odeipa Mass," "Tyrone Slothrop," and "Yashmeen Halfcourt."

    Hilarious! In fact there's also a character in The Crying of Lot 49 named "Hilarius," a Freudian analyst. Lol.

    Hope this counts. Anybody here a Pynchon fan:

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  5. #43
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    My favorite Thomas Pynchon joke with surnames is the law firm Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus and Short.

    (And yeah, I love his work.)

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  7. #44
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    My great grandmother’s maiden name was Clemo! Kinda sounds like the name of a long lost Marx Brother, but it’s just a Cornish patronymic for a son of Clement.
    “Nought may endure but mutability” —Percy Bysshe Shelley

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  9. #45
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    Bendich. It denotes descendants of Bendich Ahin (Baruch Haim), the chief physician and mathematician of Queen Joanna in Provence. The man himself was of Valencian Sephardic origin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bendic...%20of%20Naples.

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