I’ve been mulling about last names. Once in awhile you run across one that just makes you wonder… why??
I mean, once upon a time, people didn’t have last names, right? And then as the population grew and people traveled more, that got confusing, I suppose. So they identified men as John the Butcher or John the Scribe or John from Athens or whatever. And eventually we had last names, or so I’ve been told. None of us chooses our last names, and we get so used to them we hardly think about it, but I’m sure you, as I, have been occasionally struck by an unusual last name.
Many last names are pretty obvious. Mason, Carver, Carpenter, Miller, Cook, Cartwright, Hunter, Fletcher, Chandler, Archer Smith, Baker–you can guess where those came from. And the ones that tell who their daddy was are quite straightforward, too–Peterson, Johnson, Carlson, etc.
But some of them aren’t so self-explanatory. For instance, I used to know someone with the last name Fickle. Now doesn’t it just pique your curiosity as to why someone way back sometime was referred to as John the Fickle? Did he go around wooing young maidens, then breaking their hearts? It just makes you wonder.
I noticed in the phone book the other day the last name Shanty–John who lived in a Shanty, as opposed to John who lived in the Manor, perhaps? And I’ve heard of someone with the last name of Outhouse–really, do you suppose???
And what about colors? I suppose that White, Black, and Brown could have just been physical descriptions, but what about Mr. Green? Were his forebears chronically ill with stomach flu?
Speaking of forebears, we know some people with the last name of Forbear. Was that just a reference to an illustrious family tree, or did their great-great-great….many times great granddaddy once shoot four bears in one day?
What interesting and unusual last names do you wonder about?