Free Hit Counter

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family Names and Place

I am in the process of making an offer on a house.  This involves a house inspection, or course.   And who is recommended for that task?  Someone named Nico DiStefano.  Nico DiStefano??  What kind of name is that? Clearly this is not West Michigan or Pella, IA!  My combined 28 years in those places taught me to pronounce and spell names like DeVries, Van Klompenberg, Zandstra, and van Dijk. In fact, in Pella, if you divided the phone book in half, S-Z would make up the second half due to the many Vs and Zs amongst the Dutch-American population. Not a Curry to be found anywhere.   

I don't know when I started to play the game of guessing family geographic origins based on family names.  Whenever it was, as a geographer this has evolved into interpreting individual's place within the framework of the larger migration patterns in North America based on their names.

My sensitivity to names came early.  I grew up primarily in a town with Croatians who came to work in the factories and mines of central Illinois.  We knew the Petrovich sisters, and others with names like Tomlionovich, and Yerbic.  There were no Currys except us.

I went to college in Minnesota and had four David Johnsons in college with me. I had two roommates--an  Ostazeski and a Spence--they both married Johnsons.  And I knew a Carlson who married a Carlson.  And then there was Olof Olson.  I decided to take a Swedish language class and ended up being one of three out of a class of 30 who did not have a Swedish name. One had a Swedish mother and the other had had their name changed when they "got off the boat" from Sweden because their family was one of many, many Andersons onboard.  There were no Currys except me.

When I worked southern Louisiana I had to learn French names and spellings.  Boudreaux, Voisin, Billiot, Solet, and even Bourgeois, but no Currys there.

And now I am in Massachusetts where Irish, Italian, and English family names abound. But where do I find Curry except in the spice isle?



  1. Hello everybody, here every one is sharing these kinds of familiarity,
    therefore it's pleasant to read this blog, and I used to pay a visit this web site all the time.

    Look into my weblog buy instagram followers
    my website > buy instagram followers

  2. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization?
    I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not
    seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share.
    Appreciate it!

    Feel free to visit my blog get targeted twitter followers

  3. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. However imagine if you
    added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, "pop"!

    Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this site could definitely be one
    of the greatest in its field. Excellent blog!

    Feel free to surf to my web blog :: statics to marketing social media services

  4. Woah! I'm really loving the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it's hard to get that "perfect balance" between usability and visual appeal. I must say you've done a fantastic job with this.
    Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Firefox.
    Excellent Blog!

    My webpage ... methods to buy followers on social media service twitter

  5. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Look into my web blog :: pay for twitter followers