Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Been away far too long. Its more than writer's block...

Friday, February 13, 2009

LOVEly Names

On the eve of Valentines Day, I share with you three unusual last names befitting the Valentines theme of love.





Monday, January 19, 2009


Did you know that the late rhythm and blues singer , Marvin Gaye, legally changed the spelling of his surname "Gay" to "Gaye" because he was so sensitive about its sexual connotation? It is alleged that Gay was teased as a child because of his surname and he hated it so much that it caused him to modified it, especially as his father, the Reverend Gaye, was reputed to be a crossdresser.

I have found two surnames which have sexual connotations, and no disrespect intended, but if I dated men with these names I would have a serious problem with taking on these names if we were to enter into matrimony.

Check these out:

What sort of images/thoughts come to your mind when you hear of Sincock? And what about T. Hooker? I cannot write here what images and thoughts the word Sincock conjures up in my mind; and a hooker, for God sake is a prostitute!

Now how did these two words come into use as surnames?

A check with genealogy.com and britishsurnames.co.uk indicates that the surname "Sincock" is of western European origin and that quite a number of them migrated to the United States of America. A meaning for the word though was not offered. The following notations were available for "Hooker" on http://www.etymonline.com/ -

"prostitute," often traced to the disreputable morals of the Army of the Potomac (American Civil War) under the tenure of Gen. "Fighting Joe" Hooker (1863), and the word probably was popularized by this association at that time. But it is said to have been in use in North Carolina c.1845 ("If he comes by way of Norfolk he will find any number of pretty Hookers in the Brick row not far from French's hotel."). One theory traces it to Corlear's Hook, a disreputable section of New York City. Perhaps related to hooker "thief, pickpocket" (1567), but most likely an allusion to prostitutes hooking or snaring clients. Hook in the figurative sense of "that by which anyone is attracted or caught" is recorded from 1430; and hook (v.) in the figurative sense of "catch hold of and draw in" is attested from 1577; in reference to "fishing" for a husband or a wife, it was in common use from c.1800. All of which makes the modern sense seem a natural step. The family name Hooker (attested from c.975 C.E.) would mean "maker of hooks," or else refer to an agricultural laborer who used a hook (cf. O.E. weodhoc "weed-hook").

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Greetings!

I sincerely wish everyone a happy and peaceful holiday season, and may the coming new year bring you all love, happiness and the realisation of your goals.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So back to my original question - Do you have what is considered to be an unusual surname? What sort of response do you usually get when people hear it? Do you know about the origin of your "unusual" name?

Well, it is time to delve into my collection and I will start with one of my most recent finds.

The gentleman's name was HEADLEY. Not bad for a christian name. I have heard of Headly - a former governor of the Bank of Jamaica was a Dr. Headley Brown, who met a tragic and untimely death when he committed suicide some years ago.

But can you imagine a Mr. ?

What a brilliant piece of synonymous juxtaposing!

A scarf (noun) is a piece of cloth for wearing around the neck, head, or shoulders.

A quick check with an online etymolgy indicates that the word first came into use about 1276 and meant a "connecting joint" and probably came from the Old Norwegian "skarf", which was a nail for fastening a joint. This was a general North Sea ship -building term. This word was also borrowed into Romanic French "escart", and Spanish "escarb". By 1555, it was used to mean "a strip of cloth"- a band worn across the body or over the shoulders and related to the French "escarpe" meaning a slash or sling .

As a cold-weather covering for the neck, first recorded in 1884. In the 1960's it crept into U.S. teen slang and was used to mean "eat hastily", relating to its use as a noun meaning "food" or "meal" in the 1930s.

Andwhen did it come into use as a surname?

What were Headley's parents thinking when they gave him the name HEADLEY SCARF?

Your guess is as good as mine!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

McQueen Origin

About three years ago I did some research on the internet about the origins of the name Mcqueen and discovered this website, entirely dedicated to providing information on the McQueens. I do not recall the name of the website just now but a recently visited one is http://www.geocities.com/mcqueen_family/origins.html .

I gather that McQueen is of Scottish/Irish origins but we are scattered all over the globe now. I was a bit surprised to discover that most McQueens are whites and I have been trying to figure out how and when blacks got the name. I can only think that at some point in history, most likely during slavery, there was a white plantation owner who gave the name to his slaves ( I understand that this was a common practice then). I am still doing my research as as I want to find out specifically how we got to the Caribbean and when.


My surname is McQueen-Rowe. Pretty long, isn't it? And it does not not exactly trip off the tongue. It is what is referred to as a "double barrel" name and is therefore a combination of my maiden name and my married name. Why did I choose to keep my maiden name upon marrying? First, my father asked me to. In fact, on my wedding day after the signing of the certificates, he surreptitiously took me aside and whispered, "Did you do it?" and seemed very satisfied when I replied, "yes".

Later I learned that he had made the same request of my sister.

The second reason was that I had no intention of replacing my stately, uncommon family name for a boring sounding one such as ROWE. I was quite proud of my uncommon and unusual last name MCQUEEN and had got quite used to people always commenting on how nice and unusual it sounded, and will you please spell it? Is it Mcqueen as in Steve McQueen, the very famous movie star?

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is, I think that I do have a somewhat rare/uncommon maiden name (at least by Jamaican Standards). There are very few McQueens listed in our telephone directory and when I used to use it people were always asking me to spell it or telling me how lovely and stately it sounds, especially when I was required to write my entire name - JANET DAFFODIL MCQUEEN.

I am so in love with my surname that When I had my first son I briefly flirted with the idea of using my hyphenated surname as my child's surname. Guess who that would not go down well with?