Friday, February 16, 2007


I am fascinated by names and their meanings - most especially, surnames. I was told once that the suffix "-ing" means "people of." (possibly Saxon...anyone?)
As Mac- is Scot for 'son of,' and O'- is Irish for the same, so too is '-s' in dutch.
Smith, Weaver, Taylor, Miller are pretty straight forward, and I heard of an English name 'Sykes' because the family came from an area where there were rather a lot of them in the fields.

My name is Prouting, and since my origin is English, does that mean I am decended from the 'People of Prout?' The surname on my mother's side is Hamlin. This is easier - the Hamlins came from a place in England known as Ham Hill - famous (??) for its Ham Stone. So doesn't that mean '-lin' is the tag meaning "people of?"

To go further, my mother belongs to the Scotish Clan of Robertson. Why are they anglicised to Robert-son, when my friend remains Gaelic with Mac-Donald?

I had a friend at school whose last name is Risk. She told me that after a lot of research her family discovered they had not always been "Risks" but after a terrible voyage (probably to New Zealand or America) they were trying to cross a river. Half the family said "screw that, I choose life," and the other half said "well risk it." (pls note my extensive use of poetic liscence.) Lo! and behold the family members who made it to the other side thenceforth became known as the Risks.

Again on my mother's side there is the German name - Nieman. I was telling Mum (after a few German lessons at school) that when an 'i' and an 'e' are placed together in a german word, the second vowel is sounded. For example, german for four - vier - is pronounced 'fear.' The 'e' is second, the 'e' is sounded. But with the number two - zwei - the vowel sound is quite clearly and 'i' as in sky. ;-)
Therefore (after all that) the name is pronounced Nee-man. After this lecture Mum looked at me and smiled a little before explaining that the family changed their original spelling, from Neiman to Nieman, to make it look less German during the war. So that was the end of that!

Where does your name come from?


TCA said...

I come from a prolific line of footballers who couldn't time their tackles properly.


Ju's little sister said...

I wondered if Maalie's interest in birds was an ancient hereditary trait - from the days your family were involved with the Kings Fowls?

simon said...

Um... Cotter is a 'watered down" version of a Norse name meaning "Army of fear and dread".

My family has Russell in the line up ( as in Bertrand Russell). I think its a watered down version of a german name...

Maalie said...

Nah, tca, FOWLER comes from an ancient line of bird-catchers. It still runs through the DNA...

simon said...

hey Ju's.. my mum reads your blog. she rang me to say how much she enjoys it and she is surprised that there ar not more comments!!

( she is a wild lady!)

What do you think about the new soviet fighter plane? they reakon it is fantastic!

Ju's little sister said...

You've got me Simon - I wasn't aware the Soviet had a new fighter plane, but I do love the Sukhoi, the one's which can hover and flat spin and lots of other cool stuff.

A big hello and thank you to Simon's Mum - I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, I was at another wedding last weekend (but got no photos), then night shift, and this weekend just gone we had an open day and air show at work. Now I am on course again and combining that with hockey trials and practices for the winter and I am a little tired at the moment!

Soon though...soon!

simon said...

just rest