Friday, March 19, 2021

The Commonality of a Name

Here's a fun thread about the various European and nearby family names that mean the same thing as Smith.

(Click to view at a larger size.)

The German Schmidt was not a surprise. The ones that were news to me as familiar names, but unfamiliar as meaning Smith, are:

  • Kowalski (a major grocery store chain in the Twin Cities)
  • Ferrari
  • Kovacs (various and similar forms from a few languages, but best known to me for Ernie)
  • Haddad
  • McGowan 
  • Herrero (from Spain), assuming it also covers Herrera. Isn't that the more common version?

Seppanen, Lefebvre, and Goff are names I've heard occasionally. Gove — the name of a very short street in Saint Paul — appears to be the Welsh version.

A few of the comments in the thread pointed out that Fassbender is a version of the German name for Cooper. And, of course, Muller and Mueller are Miller. I wonder what those are in these other languages.

One commenter added that the surnames Black and White referred to blacksmiths and tinsmiths, respectively, which was also news to me.

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