[PDF] Whats in a Surname? ☆ David McKie

David McKie Ù 8 REVIEW

Whats in a Surname?

Evolved and what they tell us about ourselves En route he looks at the surname’s tentative beginnings in medieval times and the myriad routes by which particular names became established He considers some curious byways the rise and fall of the multi barreled surname and the Victorian reinvention of embarrassing surnames among them He considers whether fortune favors those whose surnames come at the beginning of the alphabet and he celebrates the remarka. An interesting book on surnames in Britain their history origins geography and current spread The author writes entertainingly about something we all have and use although as he notes 21st century familiarity uses first names in most communications where perhaps 60 years ago surnames particularly for men were extensively used women generally enjoyed the courtesy of their title for men it was the bare surname Well worth reading

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Surnames are much than convenient identity tags; they are windows into our families’ pasts Some suggest ancestral trades Butcher Smith Roper or physical appearance Long Brown Thynne Some provide clues to where we come from McDonald Evans Patel And some Rymer Brocklebank Stolbof offer a hint of something just a little exotic or esoteric All are grist to the mill for David McKie who sets off on a journey around Britain to find out how such appellations have. The most interesting chapter of this book is about the names of characters in books This is something that can wreck a novel for me Mr McKie calls some character names nudge names they give you a hint of what you re supposed to think about them It begins with all the emblematic names in Pilgrim s Progress Mr Worldly Wiseman etc and continues through the 18th century Roderick Random Peregrine Pickle Suire Allworthy you know Not so much nudge names as howl in your ear names Dickens is pretty bad at this Wackford Sueers Sir Mulberry Hawk Lady Dedlock Esther Summerson and so forth but his many bullseyes let him get away with a whole lot Well those was different times and now we expect a little plausibility in our novels maybe But maybe not When I see that a writer has given his characters names like Pirate Prentice Roger Mexico Brock Vond Frenesi Gates Oedipa Maas Pierce Inverarity Mike Fallopian and Genghis Cohen I think well these novels are going to be like 700 page long Monty Python sketches My name s Smoketoomuch Well you d better cut down then Pardon But those are all Thomas Pynchon characters His characters names have given me the unfortunate and I m sure wrong idea about the novels themselves I think well these novels are not taking themselves seriously at all so they must be silly goofy comedies nothing wrong with that but I don t want to read a 700 page silly goofy comedyI m uite sure this is the completely wrong idea to have about Gravity s Rainbow V and Vineland but it s a major reason why I ve yet to read themAnd what about John Self Lorne Guyland Spunk Davis Keith Talent and Nicola Six also totally stupid rubbish names Martin AmisEven Henry James was fairly crap at naming his characters Kate Croy Merton Densher Fleda Vetch all awful and let us share a moment s silence for the uite unspeakable Fanny Assingham I did struggle with Humbert Humbert too Very ridiculous But of course Dolores Haze aka Lolita is practically the greatest character name ever So that made up for Humbert So authors I beseech thee you need to soft pedal the archness and curtail the camp when you name your people It is true that real life gives us some beautifully curious names which I d complain about if they were in a novel so context is all In my explorations of American pre War stuff I came across the following musicians from the South Buell Kazee Floyd Ming Hoke Rice Fate Norris real name Singleton LaFayette Norris Posey Rorer Estil Ball Pendleton Vandiver Gaither Carlton and the wonderful Bascom Lamar Lunsford I heard a reggae song recently by Pluto Shervington And in my job I came across Mariella Bendova from the Czech Republic and and Creamy Wu from Hong Kong This book was a disappointment a bunch of meandering mimsiness about surnames recommended for maiden aunts who can t take much excitement

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Ble and the uirky from the fearsome Ridley the cry of which once struck terror in the hearts of Northumbrians to the legend encrusted Tichborne whose most famous holders were destined to suffer centuries of misfortune and controversy Elegiac and amusing by turns he offers a wonderfully entertaining wander along the footpaths of the nation’s history and culture celebrating not just the Smiths and Joneses of these islands but the Chacepots and Swetinbeds to. But everyone has at the start two parents which means four grandparents and eight grandparents and so on until many generations back you owe your blood to thousands of peopleHad the ueen been destined for a tennis career rather than for the throne she might have appeared at Wimbledon as Mrs Saxe Coburg Gotha Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Glucksburg


About the Author: David McKie

David McKie born 1935 is a British journalist and historian He was deputy editor of The Guardian and continued to write a weekly column for that paper until 4 October 2007 with the byline Elsewhere Until September 10 2005 he also wrote a second weekly column under the pseudonym SmallweedHis book Jabez The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Scoundrel a biography of the Victorian era politi



7 thoughts on “Whats in a Surname?

  1. says:

    The most interesting chapter of this book is about the names of characters in books This is something that can wreck a novel for me Mr McKie calls some character names “nudge” names – they give you a hint of what you’re supposed to think about them It begins with all the emblematic names in Pilgrim’s Progress Mr

  2. says:

    Choosing to concentrate on just half a dozen places the author analyses the distribution rise and fall of local surnames ca

  3. says:

    Interesting Good amount of information in this bookBONUS My last name is on the cover

  4. says:

    An interesting book on surnames in Britain; their history origins geography and current spread The author writes entertainingly about

  5. says:

    But everyone has at the start two parents which means four grandparents and eight grandparents and so on until many generations back you owe your blood to thousands of peopleHad the ueen been destined for a tennis career rather than for the throne she might have appeared at Wimbledon as Mrs Saxe Coburg Gotha Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Glucksburg

  6. says:

    Not a list of surnames and derivations but a lively and engaging history of the British surname including ones in novels

  7. says:

    A lighthearted entertaining look at surname origins patterns trends and transformations through the ages Some stunning examples of them

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