Thursday, March 03, 2011

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That's from Romeo & Juliet of course, and while it's true for example that the old time TV newsman Walter Cronkite would probably still have been a good TV anchor if his name had been Smith, it can be interesting to learn about names. Surnames do have their histories and origins like anything else does.

"Cronkite" for instance is the Americanized spelling of "Krankheid," a Dutch surname from the NY area. Your blogger's surname, "Lennon," is apparently an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Leannain," which means a descendant of "Leannan," or it can come from "O'Lonain," a personal name from a diminutive of "lon," or blackbird. Stop by the library sometime and look your surname up in the Dictionary of American Family Names, in the reference book collection on the main floor, REF CS2485 .D53.

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