Saturday, January 17th, 2009

It's All in a Name

Another random fact I shared in my "16 random facts" blog, dealt with the issue of my last name. I have one of those last names that is incredibly easy to say, yet people are constantly misspelling it when they send me mail. I couldn't tell how many times I have talked to a person and given them my email address at work, emphasized the "A" and received a call back.

They will say something along the lines of, "I must have entered your email wrong. My message keeps getting kicked back."

"Did you remember the "A" in my name? It's w-p-e-A-r-c-h."

When I met Susan, she commented that she is the descendant of simple last names. I was not so fortunate.

When people see or hear my last name, they assume that I am English. Nope, just English-speaking. I am only the second generation of my family born with that surname. Obviously, my father was the first.

My grandfather was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the last name of Pewarchuk. During the late 1920s, he had his sites fixed upon moving to Chicago. Not sure what his goal was: employment, college, or the lure of the Cubs and White Sox baseball. More than likely it was not the latter. Regardless, when he entered the United States, he decided to Americanize his name and abandon some consonants and a vowel. Over time, he eventually met my grandmother. She certainly contributed her portion to this alphabet soup with a last name of Kuzminchuk.

Just to be fair, my mother's side is equally guilty. My Mom's first job out of college of was teaching at the new junior high near her childhood home. Her students lovingly called her Ms. J. There was a good reason for that. Her last name was Jasczcysyn. Let me be clear, there was only one vowel in there. Maybe this is a "and sometimes 'y'" type of name. Perhaps my grandfather decided he didn't need to Americanize his name since he grew up in Niles, Illinois. Eventually he met my grandmother who offered the most simple name to the mix, McTigue.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess I am fortunate that people simply forget the "A" in my name. If email existed during the late 1960s, I couldn't imagine my Mom trying to give someone her email address: m-j-a-s-c-z-c-y-s-y-n.


13 Comments
lgrant
You would think with a simple name like "Linda Grant" my life would be easy but you would be surprised how people can misspell it. For some reason a large section of our population thinks "Lynda" is the more common spelling. I've had them misspell Grant to "Gront" or "Grunt". Wouldn't you think Grant would be more obvious for a last name? Someone the other day mentioned playing with their son's name of "Lane" when he is born and I pleaded with the person to leave the name a more common spelling and spare the boy a lifetime of spelling his name for everyone and having it misspelled all the time. LOL

We actually play the "Name Game" at work to amuse ourselves with the names we see of new hires or employees. It's easy fodder for several times a day on occasion.

The most amusing one was a guy the other day who wrote on his non-disclosure agreement that his name is Bill E-l-l-i-o-t-t. I'm not sure if he has spent most of his life having to spell his last name or someone in his office told him he was sending the form to morons who can't spell names right. I've never had anyone who did that with a name. LOL
LGrant   Saturday, January 17, 2009
billpearch
I worked with a guy named Jerry for a number of years. He would always get mailed addressed to "Jenny."
Bill Pearch   Saturday, January 17, 2009
runt
Ufda! Names are horrible. lol My real name is Collette..that is said with a long O sound. I have family...blood family...that can't pronounce it right. I also get called Charlotte, Colleen, Carla..and the list goes on. This is after I introduce myself to your face. lol I have yet to have a last name I don't have to spell for people. My children are Emma, Jonah, Izabella. Now I TRIED to tell my husband to NOT put that Z in Izabella but he insisted. So she has a lifetime of spelling her name to people. You would think the other two would be easy. Nope...Emma gets Emily alot and I am constantly having to spell Jonah for people. My husband's family NEVER get his name right. He usually gets birthday cards that say Jonha. lol But the bank cashes the check so all is good. ; )
runt   Saturday, January 17, 2009
lgrant
I have a friend named Leigh who is constantly thought to be a guy and another guy in CA named Cari who of course is always thought to be a woman until people learn. Parents are cruel people. LOLOL
LGrant   Saturday, January 17, 2009
runt
Oh yeah...my husband's name is Kerry. lol Although I do have a funny story about that. Since my husband has such an ambigous (sp) name I can call and be "him" anytime I want. I called the phone company, not remembering if he had added me to the account or not, and said I was Kerry. Gave the last four digits of "my" social security number, answered the secret question and everything. Now dude on the phone is calling me ma'am the whole time so he KNOWS I am a woman. He then says...."I see that there is a Collette authorized on this account." Silly me without thinking says.."Yes that is my wife" OH MY GOSH!!!! I then realized we had just become a lesbian couple to the phone company. rflmbo
runt   Saturday, January 17, 2009
lgrant
HAHA...great story, Runt. :)
LGrant   Saturday, January 17, 2009
runt
Grant I don't think I have called the phone company since. : ) I"m still embarrassed about it.
runt   Saturday, January 17, 2009
igna83
Don't even get me started here, Bill. I had one of the most simple names ever--well, not compared to Bill Davis (whom I married), but still: Angela Burton? Come on! I still get people that ask how to spell Angela; amazing. But when I was a little girl and started elementary school, my mom conceded to a nickname: Angi - yes, there is no E. Not too difficult, right? Wrong. Now, I had no problems with this among my teachers, friends, etc. It was the family, especially my father's side. Still, to this day, they'll spell it A-N-G-I-E...even if I send an email and "sign" it A-N-G-I !! I mean, do they think that I'd intentionally misspell my own #%@*-ing name??!!

Then, there's our son, Galvin Montgomery. I know, I know, not a common name, BUT my father's entire family know the meaning behind the name--combo Alvin Gail, from Bill's father and Montgomery which is their family name. Now the Montgomery part they get, but for Gs first name we get Gavin, Gaven, Garven, etc. Even when I send Christmas cards and such, they always send one in response with his name misspelled! And dad's cousin can't decide between misspellings; this year we got a card and letter from her - on the card it was G-A-V-I-N and on the letter it was G-A-V-E-N. Good grief! Good thing we had another child and gave her a simpler name: Susannah Gwendolyn! HA!!
Angi   Saturday, January 17, 2009
billpearch
Great stories. I just remembered that my Mom has a common first name, but an unusual spelling. She was named after her two grandmothers, Mary (actually Mariana) and Ann (actually Anna). Logically, her name should be Maryann or Ann Marie, right? No, it's Mary ann. Yes, that is correct. There is a space after Mary and a lower case "a." Never quite understood why my grandparents did that. On top of that, she does not have a middle name.
Bill Pearch   Saturday, January 17, 2009
_DELETED_talkswithstrangers
I kept my Irish surname when I wnet to college. (long story, didnt want to wait in line to get it changed to the English version).

Thanks to computers, it is difficult to type my name properly, so sadly, I have another anglicised version of my surname to which there already exists an anglicised version.

Even the irish spelling of the name has 3 different versions. It means Black haired forigner :-D


Had an intersting chat with a guy from poland, who spends his free time tracking down Polish people in the USA to reunite them with their families. Turns out the immigration people in the USA did not know how to write down names of eastern European immigrants in the 1940s.
talkswithstrangers   Saturday, January 17, 2009
reera
I like my name but it is rare that it is spelled or pronounced correctly, hence I started using Dannie most of the time when I hit 7th grade. My full name is:
Danalee Marie Elizabeth Cook Pipes legally now it is Danalee Cook Pipes.
I usually have to denote that Dannie is ie instead of y. After 60 years I answer to just about anything close to it.LOL
dannie   Saturday, January 17, 2009
My Dad's side of the family came from Quebec and settled in Illinois and Detroit back in the 1800s. Back then, they were "Tetreau." Rumor has it that someone was on the run from the law and decided to change it to "Tatro."
Eric Tatro   Saturday, January 17, 2009
billpearch
Eric, it's funny you mentioned running from the law. When my grandfather left Canada, his brother tagged along. My grandfather stopped in Chicago, but his brother continued on to Arkansas. His brother skipped Americanizing his name and found a new identity. Of course, nobody really knows the truth.
Bill Pearch   Saturday, January 17, 2009
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