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VIII Proper Names in America
 § 1 Surnames—A glance at any American city directory is sufficient to show that, despite the continued political and cultural preponderance of the original English strain, the American people have quite ceased to be authentically English in race, or even authentically British. The blood in their arteries is inordinately various and inextricably mixed, but yet not mixed enough to run a clear stream. A touch of foreignness still lingers about millions of them, even in the country of their birth. They show their alien origin in their speech, in their domestic customs, in their habits of mind, and in their very names. Just as the Scotch and the Welsh have invaded England, elbowing out the actual English to make room for themselves, so the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Scandinavians and the Jews of Eastern Europe, and in some areas, the French, the Slavs and the hybrid-Spaniards have elbowed out the descendants of the first colonists. It is not exaggerating, indeed, to say that wherever the old stock comes into direct and unrestrained conflict with one of these new stocks, it tends to succumb, or, at all events, to give up the battle. The Irish, in the big cities of the East, attained to a truly impressive political power long before the first native-born generation of them had grown up.[1] The Germans, following the limestone belt of the Alleghany foothills, pre-empted the best lands East of the mountains before the new [Pg269] republic was born.[2] And so, in our own time, we have seen the Swedes and Norwegians shouldering the native from the wheat lands of the Northwest, and the Italians driving the decadent New Englanders from their farms, and the Jews gobbling New York, and the Slavs getting a firm foothold in the mining regions, and the French Canadians penetrating New Hampshire and Vermont, and the Japanese and Portuguese menacing Hawaii, and the awakened negroes gradually ousting the whites from the farms of the South.[3] The birth-rate among all these foreign stocks is enormously greater than among the older stock, and though the death-rate is also high, the net increase remains relatively formidable. Even without the aid of immigration it is probable that they would continue to rise in numbers faster than the original English and so-called Scotch-Irish.[4]
Turn to the letter z in the New York telephone directory and you will find a truly astonishing array of foreign names, some of them in process of anglicization, but many of them still arrestingly outlandish. The only Anglo-Saxon surname beginning with z is Zacharias,[5] and even that was originally borrowed from the Greek. To this the Norman invasion seems to have added only Zouchy. But in Manhattan and the Bronx, even among the necessarily limited class of telephone subscribers, there are nearly 1500 persons whose names begin with the letter, and among them one finds fully 150 different surnames. The German Zimmermann, with either one n or two, is naturally the most numerous single name, and following close upon it are its derivatives, Zimmer and Zimmern. With them are many more German names: Zahn, Zechendorf, Zeffert, Zeitler, Zeller, Zellner, Zeltmacher, Zepp, Ziegfeld, Zabel, Zucker, Zuckermann, Ziegler, Zillman, Zinser and so on. They are all represented heavily, but they indicate neither the earliest nor the most formidable accretion, for underlying them are many Dutch [Pg270] names, e. g., Zeeman and Zuurmond, and over them are a large number of Slavic, Italian and Jewish names. Among the first I note Zabludosky, Zabriskie, Zachczynski, Zapinkow, Zaretsky, Zechnowitz, Zenzalsky and Zywachevsky; among the second, Zaccardi, Zaccarini, Zaccaro, Zapparano, Zanelli, Zicarelli and Zucca; among the third, Zukor, Zipkin and Ziskind. There are, too, various Spanish names: Zelaya, Zingaro, etc. And Greek: Zapeion, Zervakos and Zouvelekis. And Armenian: Zaloom, Zaron and Zatmajian. And Hungarian: Zadek, Zagor and Zichy. And Swedish: Zetterholm and Zetterlund. And a number that defy placing: Zrike, Zvan, Zwipf, Zula, Zur and Zeve.
Any other American telephone directory will show the same extraordinary multiplication of exotic patronymics. I choose, at random, that of Pittsburgh, and confine myself to the saloon-keepers and clergymen. Among the former I find a great many German names: Artz, Bartels, Blum, Gaertner, Dittmer, Hahn, Pfeil, Schuman, Schlegel, von Hedemann, Weiss and so on. And Slavic names: Blaszkiewicz, Bukosky, Puwalowski, Krzykolski, Tuladziecke and Stratkiewicz. And Greek and Italian names: Markopoulos, Martinelli, Foglia, Gigliotti and Karabinos. And names beyond my determination: Tyburski, Volongiatica, Herisko and Hajduk. Very few Anglo-Saxon names are on the list; the continental foreigner seems to be driving out the native, and even the Irishman, from the saloon business. Among the clerics, naturally enough, there are more men of English surname, but even here I find such strange names as Auroroff, Ashinsky, Bourajanis, Duic, Cillo, Mazure, Przvblski, Pniak, Bazilevich, Smelsz and Vrhunec. But Pittsburgh and New York, it may be argued, are scarcely American; unrestricted immigration has swamped them; the newcomers crowd into the cities. Well, examine the roster of the national House of Representatives, which surely represents the whole country. On it I find Bacharach, Dupré, Esch, Estopinal, Focht, Heintz, Kahn, Kiess, Kreider, La Guardia, Kraus, Lazaro, Lehbach, Romjue, Siegel and Zihlman, not to mention the insular delegates, Kalanianole, [Pg271] de Veyra, Davila and Yangko, and enough Irishmen to organize a parliament at Dublin.
In the New York city directory the fourth most common name is now Murphy, an Irish name, and the fifth most common is Meyer, which is German and chiefly Jewish. The Meyers are the Smiths of Austria, and of most of Germany. They outnumber all other clans. After them come the Schultzes and Krauses, just as the Joneses and Williamses follow the Smiths in Great Britain. Schultze and Kraus do not seem to be very common names in New York, but Schmidt, Muller, Schneider and Klein appear among the fifty commonest.[6] Cohen and Levy rank eighth and ninth, and are both ahead of Jones, which is second in England, and Williams, which is third. Taylor, a highly typical British name, ranking fourth in England and Wales, is twenty-third in New York. Ahead of it, beside Murphy, Meyer, Cohen and Levy, are Schmidt, Ryan, O'Brien, Kelly and Sullivan. Robinson, which is twelfth in England, is thirty-ninth in New York; even Schneider and Muller are ahead of it. In Chicago Olson, Schmidt, Meyer, Hansen and Larsen are ahead of Taylor, and Hoffman and Becker are ahead of Ward; in Boston Sullivan and Murphy are ahead of any English name save Smith; in Philadelphia Myers is just below Robinson. Nor, as I have said, is this large proliferation of foreign surnames confined to the large cities. There are whole regions in the Southwest in which López and Gonzales are far commoner names than Smith, Brown or Jones, and whole regions in the Middle West wherein Olson is commoner than either Taylor or Williams, and places both North and South where Duval is at least as common as Brown.
Moreover, the true proportions of this admixture of foreign blood are partly concealed by a wholesale anglicization of surnames, sometimes deliberate and sometimes the fruit of mere confusion. That Smith, Brown and Miller remain in first, second and third places among the surnames of New York is surely no sound evidence of Anglo-Saxon survival. The German and [Pg272] Scandinavian Schmidt has undoubtedly contributed many a Smith, and Braun many a Brown, and Müller many a Miller. In the same way Johnson, which holds first place among Chicago surnames, and Anderson, which holds third, are plainly reinforced from Scandinavian sources, and the former may also owe something to the Russian Ivanof. Miller is a relatively rare name in England; it is not among the fifty most common. But it stands thirtieth in Boston, fourth in New York and Baltimore, and second in Philadelphia.[7] In the last-named city the influence of Müller, probably borrowed from the Pennsylvania Dutch, is plainly indicated, and in Chicago it is likely that there are also contributions from the Scandinavian M?ller, the Polish Jannszewski and the Bohemian Mlinár. Myers, as we have seen, is a common surname in Philadelphia. So are Fox and Snyder. In some part, at least, they have been reinforced by the Pennsylvania Dutch Meyer, Fuchs and Schneider. Sometimes Müller changes to Miller, sometimes to Muller, and sometimes it remains unchanged, but with the spelling made Mueller. Muller and Mueller do not appear among the commoner names in Philadelphia; all the Müllers seem to have become Millers, thus putting Miller in second place. But in Chicago, with Miller in fourth place, there is also Mueller in thirty-first place, and in New York, with Miller in third place, there is also Muller in twenty-fourth place.
Such changes, chiefly based upon transliterations, are met with in all countries. The name of Taaffe, familiar in Austrian history, had an Irish prototype, probably Taft. General Demikof, one of the Russian commanders at the battle of Zorndorf, in 1758, was a Swede born Themicoud. Franz Maria von Thugut, the Austrian diplomatist, was a member of an Italian Tyrolese family named Tunicotto. This became Thunichgut (=do no good) in Austria, and was changed to Thugut (=do good) to bring it into greater accord with its possessor's deserts.[8] In [Pg273] Bonaparte the Italian buon(o) became the French bon. Many English surnames are decayed forms of Norman-French names, for example, Sidney from St. Denis, Divver from De Vere, Bridgewater from Burgh de Walter, Montgomery from de Mungumeri, Garnett from Guarinot, and Seymour from Saint-Maure. A large number of so-called Irish names are the products of rough-and-ready transliterations of Gaelic patronymics, for example, Findlay from Fionnlagh, Dermott from Diarmuid, and McLane from Mac Illeathiain. In the same way the name of Phoenix Park, in Dublin, came from Fion Uisg (=fine water). Of late some of the more ardent Irish authors and politicians have sought to return to the originals. Thus, O'Sullivan has become O Suilleabháin, Pearse has become Piarais, Mac Sweeney has become Mac Suibhne, and Patrick has suffered a widespread transformation to Padraic. But in America, with a language of peculiar vowel-sounds and even consonant-sounds struggling against a foreign invasion unmatched for strength and variety, such changes have been far more numerous than across the ocean, and the legal rule of idem sonans is of much wider utility than anywhere else in the world. If it were not for that rule there would be endless difficulties for the Wises whose grandfathers were Weisses, and the Leonards born Leonhards, Leonhardts or Lehnerts, and the Manneys who descend and inherit from Le Maines.
"A crude popular etymology," says a leading authority on surnames,[9] "often begins to play upon a name that is no longer significant to the many. So the Thurgods have become Thoroughgoods, and the Todenackers have become the Pennsylvania Dutch Toothakers, much as asparagus has become sparrow-grass." So, too, the Wittnachts of Boyle county, Kentucky, descendants of a Hollander, have become Whitenecks, and the Lehns of lower Pennsylvania, descendants of some far-off German, have become Lanes.[10] Edgar Allan Poe was a member of a family long settled in Western Maryland, the founder being one Poh or Pfau, a native of the Palatinate. Major George [Pg274] Armistead, who defended Fort McHenry in 1814, when Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," was the descendant of an Armst?dt who came to Virginia from Hesse-Darmstadt. General George A. Custer, the Indian fighter, was the great-grandson of one Küster, a Hessian soldier paroled after Burgoyne's surrender. William Wirt, anti-Masonic candidate for the presidency in 1832, was the son of one W?rth. William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the great-grandson of a Bohemian named Paka. General W. S. Rosecrans was really a Rosenkrantz. Even the surname of Abraham Lincoln, according to some authorities, was an anglicized form of Linkhorn.[11]
Such changes, in fact, are almost innumerable; every work upon American genealogy is full of examples. The first foreign names to undergo the process were Dutch and French. Among the former, Reiger was debased to Riker, Van de Veer to Vandiver, Van Huys to Vannice, Van Siegel to Van Sickle, Van Arsdale to Vannersdale, and Haerlen (or Haerlem) to Harlan;[12] among the latter, Petit became Poteet, Caillé changed to Kyle, De la Haye to Dillehay, Dejean to Deshong, Guizot to Gossett, Guereant to Caron, Soule to Sewell, Gervaise to Jarvis, Bayle to Bailey, Fontaine to Fountain, Denis to Denny, Pebaudière to Peabody, Bon Pas to Bumpus and de l'H?tel to Doolittle. "Frenchmen and French Canadians who came to New England," says Schele de Vere, "had to pay for such hospitality as they there received by the sacrifice of their names. The brave Bon Coeur, Captain Marryatt tells us in his Diary, became Mr. Bunker, and gave his name to Bunker's Hill."[13] But it was the German immigration that provoked the first really wholesale slaughter. A number of characteristic German sounds—for example, that of ü and the guttural in ch and g—are almost impossible to the Anglo-Saxon pharynx, and so they had to go. Thus, Bloch was changed to Block or Black, Ochs to [Pg275] Oakes, Hock to Hoke, Fischbach to Fishback, Albrecht to Albert or Albright, and Steinweg to Steinway, and the Grundwort, bach, was almost universally changed to baugh, as in Brumbaugh. The ü met the same fate: Grün was changed to Green, Führ to Fear or Fuhr, W?rner to Warner, Düring to Deering, and Schn?bele to Snavely, Snabely or Snively. In many other cases there were changes in spelling to preserve vowel sounds differently represented in German and English. Thus, Blum was changed to Bloom,[14], Reuss to Royce, Koester to Kester, Kuehle to Keeley, Schroeder to Schrader, Stehli to Staley, Weymann to Wayman, Friedmann to Freedman, Bauman to Bowman, and Lang (as the best compromise possible) to Long. The change of Oehm to Ames belongs to the same category; the addition of the final s represents a typical effort to substitute the nearest related Anglo-Saxon name. Other examples of that effort are to be found in Michaels for Michaelis, Bowers for Bauer, Johnson for Johannsen, Ford for Furth, Hines for Heintz, Kemp for Kempf, Foreman for Fuhrmann, Kuhns or Coons for Kuntz, Hoover for Huber, Levering for Liebering, Jones for Jonas, Swope for Schwab, Hite or Hyde for Heid, Andrews for André, Young for Jung, and Pence for Pentz.[15]
The American antipathy to accented letters, mentioned in the chapter on spelling, is particularly noticeable among surnames. An immigrant named Fürst inevitably becomes plain Furst in the United States, and if not the man, then surely his son. L?we, in the same way, is transformed into Lowe (pro. low),[16] [Pg276] Lürmann into Lurman, Sch?n into Schon, Suplée into Suplee or Supplee, Lüders into Luders and Brühl into Brill. Even when no accent betrays it, the foreign diphthong is under hard pressure. Thus the German oe disappears, and Loeb is changed to Lobe or Laib, Oehler to Ohler, Loeser to Leser, and Schoen to Schon or Shane. In the same way the au in such names as Rosenau changes to aw. So too, the French oi-sound is disposed of, and Dubois is pronounced Doo-bóys, and Boileau acquires a first syllable rhyming with toil. So with the kn in the German names of the Knapp class; they are all pronounced, probably by analogy with Knight, as if they began with n. So with sch; Schneider becomes Snyder, Schlegel becomes Slagel, and Schluter becomes Sluter. If a foreigner clings to the original spelling of his name he must usually expect to hear it mispronounced. Roth, in American, quickly becomes Rawth; Frémont, losing both accent and the French e, become Freemont; Blum begins to rhyme with dumb; Mann rhymes with van, and Lang with hang; Krantz, Lantz and their cognates with chance; Kurtz with shirts; the first syllable of Gutmann with but; the first of Kahler with bay; the first of Werner with turn; the first of Wagner with nag. Uhler, in America, is always Youler. Berg loses its German e-sound for an English u-sound, and its German hard g for an English g; it becomes identical with the berg of iceberg. The same change in the vowel occurs in Erdmann. In K?nig the German diphthong succumbs to a long o, and the hard g becomes k; the common pronunciation is Cone-ik. Often, in Berger, the g becomes soft, and the name rhymes with verger. It becomes soft, too, in Bittinger. In Wilstach and Welsbach the ch becomes a k. In Anheuser the eu changes to a long i. The final e, important in German, is nearly always silenced; Dohme rhymes with foam; Kühne becomes Keen.
In addition to these transliterations, there are constant translations of foreign proper names. "Many a Pennsylvania Carpenter," says Dr. Oliphant,[17] "bearing a surname that is English, from the French, from the Latin, and there a Celtic loan-word [Pg277] in origin, is neither English, nor French, nor Latin, nor Celt, but an original German Zimmermann."[18] A great many other such translations are under everyday observation. Pfund becomes Pound; Becker, Baker; Schumacher, Shoemaker; K?nig, King; Weisberg, Whitehill; Koch, Cook;[19] Neuman, Newman; Schaefer, Shepherd or Sheppard; Gutmann, Goodman; Goldschmidt, Goldsmith; Edelstein, Noblestone; Steiner, Stoner; Meister, Master(s); Schwartz, Black; Weiss, White; Weber, Weaver; Bucher, Booker; Vogelgesang, Birdsong; Sontag, Sunday, and so on. Partial translations are also encountered, e. g., Studebaker from Studebecker, and Reindollar from Rheinthaler. By the same process, among the newer immigrants, the Polish Wilkiewicz becomes Wilson, the Bohemian Bohumil becomes Godfrey, and the Bohemian Kovár and the Russian Kuznetzov become Smith. Some curious examples are occasionally encountered. Thus Henry Woodhouse, a gentleman prominent in aeronautical affairs, came to the United States from Italy as Mario Terenzio Enrico Casalegno; his new surname is simply a translation of his old one. And the Belmonts, the bankers, unable to find a euphonious English equivalent for their German-Jewish patronymic of Sch?nberg, chose a French one that Americans could pronounce.
In part, as I say, these changes in surname are enforced by the sheer inability of Americans to pronounce certain Continental consonants, and their disinclination to remember the Continental vowel sounds. Many an immigrant, finding his name constantly mispronounced, changes its vowels or drops some of its consonants; many another shortens it, or translates it, or changes it entirely for the same reason. Just as a well-known Graeco-French poet changed his Greek name of Papadiamantopoulos to Moréas because Papadiamantopoulos was too much for Frenchmen, and as an eminent Polish-English novelist [Pg278] changed his Polish name of Korzeniowski to Conrad because few Englishmen could pronounce owski correctly, so the Italian or Greek or Slav immigrant, coming up for naturalization, very often sheds his family name with his old allegiance, and emerges as Taylor, Jackson or Wilson. I once encountered a firm of Polish Jews, showing the name of Robinson & Jones on its sign-board, whose partners were born Rubinowitz and Jonas. I lately heard of a German named Knoche—a name doubly difficult to Americans, what with the kn and the ch—who changed it boldly to Knox to avoid being called Nokky. A Greek named Zoyiopoulous, Kolokotronis, Mavrokerdatos or Constantinopolous would find it practically impossible to carry on amicable business with Americans; his name would arouse their mirth, if not their downright ire. And the same burden would lie upon a Hungarian named Beniczkyné or Gyalui, or Szilagyi, or Vezercsillagok. Or a Finn named Kyyhkysen, or J??skelainen, or Tuulensuu, or Uotinen,—all honorable Finnish patronymics. Or a Swede named Sjogren, or Schjtt, or Leijonhufvud. Or a Bohemian named Srb, or Hrubka. Or, for that matter, a German named Kannengiesser, or Schnapaupf, or Pfannenbecker.
But more important than this purely linguistic hostility, there is a deeper social enmity, and it urges the immigrant to change his name with even greater force. For a hundred years past all the heaviest and most degrading labor of the United States has been done by successive armies of foreigners, and so a concept of inferiority has come to be attached to mere foreignness. In addition, these newcomers, pressing upward steadily in the manner already described, have offered the native a formidable, and considering their lower standards of living, what has appeared to him to be an unfair competition on his own plane, and as a result a hatred born of disastrous rivalry has been added to his disdain. Our unmatchable vocabulary of derisive names for foreigners reveals the national attitude. The French boche, the German hunyadi (for Hungarian),[20] and the old English froggy (for Frenchman) seem lone and feeble beside our great repertoire: [Pg279] dago, wop, guinea, kike, goose, mick, harp,[21] bohick, bohunk, square-head, greaser, canuck, spiggoty,[22] chink, polack, dutchie, scowegian, hunkie and yellow-belly. This disdain tends to pursue an immigrant with extraordinary rancor when he bears a name that is unmistakably foreign and hence difficult to the native, and open to his crude burlesque. Moreover, the general feeling penetrates the man himself, particularly if he be ignorant, and he comes to believe that his name is not only a handicap, but also intrinsically discreditable—that it wars subtly upon his worth and integrity.[23] This feeling, perhaps, accounted for a good many changes of surnames among Germans upon the entrance of the United States into the war. But in the majority of cases, of course, the changes so copiously reported—e. g., from Bielefelder to Benson, and from Pulvermacher to Pullman—were merely efforts at protective coloration. The immigrant, in a time of extraordinary suspicion and difficulty, tried to get rid of at least one handicap.[24] [Pg280]
This motive constantly appears among the Jews, who face an anti-Semitism that is imperfectly concealed and may be expected to grow stronger hereafter. Once they have lost the faith of their fathers, a phenomenon almost inevitable in the first native-born generation, they shrink from all the disadvantages that go with Jewishness, and seek to conceal their origin, or, at all events, to avoid making it unnecessarily noticeable.[25] To this end they modify the spelling of the more familiar Jewish surnames, turning Levy into Lewy, Lewyt, Levitt, Levin, Levine, Levey, Levie[26] and even Lever, Cohen into Cohn, Cahn, Kahn, Kann, Coyne and Conn, Aarons into Arens and Ahrens and Solomon into Salmon, Salomon and Solmson. In the same way they shorten their long names, changing Wolfsheimer to Wolf, Goldschmidt to Gold, and Rosenblatt, Rosenthal, Rosenbaum, Rosenau, Rosenberg, Rosenbusch, Rosenblum, Rosenstein, Rosenheim and Rosenfeldt to Rose. Like the Germans, they also seek refuge in translations more or less literal. Thus, on the East Side of New York, Blumenthal is often changed to Bloomingdale, Schneider to Taylor, Reichman to Richman, and Schlachtfeld to Warfield. Fiddler, a common Jewish name, becomes Harper; so does Pikler, which is Yiddish for drummer. Stolar, which is a Yiddish word borrowed from the Russian, signifying carpenter, is often changed to Carpenter. Lichtman and Lichtenstein become Chandler. Meilach, which is Hebrew for king, becomes King, and so does Meilachson. The strong tendency to seek English-sounding equivalents for names of noticeably foreign origin changes Sher into Sherman, Michel into Mitchell, Rogowsky into Rogers, Kolinsky into Collins, Rabinovitch into Robbins, Davidovitch into Davis, Moiseyev into Macy or Mason, and Jacobson, Jacobovitch and Jacobovsky into Jackson. This last [Pg281] change proceeds by way of a transient change to Jake or Jack as a nickname. Jacob is always abbreviated to one or the other on the East Side. Yankelevitch also becomes Jackson, for Yankel is Yiddish for Jacob.[27]
Among the immigrants of other stocks some extraordinarily radical changes in name are to be observed. Greek names of five, and even eight syllables shrink to Smith; Hungarian names that seem to be all consonants are reborn in such euphonious forms as Martin and Lacy. I have encountered a Gregory who was born Grgurevich in Serbia; a Uhler who was born Uhlyarik; a Graves who descends from the fine old Dutch family of 'sGravenhage. I once knew a man named Lawton whose grandfather had been a Lautenberger. First he shed the berger and then he changed the spelling of Lauten to make it fit the inevitable American mispronunciation. There is, again, a family of Dicks in the South whose ancestor was a Schwettendieck—apparently a Dutch or Low German name. There is, yet again, a celebrated American artist, of the Bohemian patronymic of Hrubka, who has abandoned it for a surname which is common to all the Teutonic languages, and is hence easy for Americans. The Italians, probably because of the relations established by the Catholic church, often take Irish names, as they marry Irish girls; it is common to hear of an Italian pugilist or politician named Kelly or O'Brien. The process of change is often informal, but even legally it is quite facile. The Naturalization Act of June 29, 1906, authorizes the court, as a part of the naturalization of any alien, to make an order changing his name. This is frequently done when he receives his last papers; sometimes, if the newspapers are to be believed, without his solicitation, and even against his protest. If the matter is overlooked at the time, he may change his name later on, like any other citizen, by simple application to a court of record.
Among names of Anglo-Saxon origin and names naturalized long before the earliest colonization, one notes certain American peculiarities, setting off the nomenclature of the United States [Pg282] from that of the mother country. The relative infrequency of hyphenated names in America is familiar; when they appear at all it is almost always in response to direct English influences.[28] Again, a number of English family names have undergone modification in the New World. Venable may serve as a specimen. The form in England is almost invariably Venables, but in America the final s has been lost, and every example of the name that I have been able to find in the leading American reference-books is without it. And where spellings have remained unchanged, pronunciations have been frequently modified. This is particularly noticeable in the South. Callowhill, down there, is commonly pronounced Carrol; Crenshawe is Granger; Hawthorne, Horton; Heyward, Howard; Norsworthy, Nazary; Ironmonger, Munger; Farinholt, Fernall; Camp, Kemp; Buchanan, Bohannan; Drewry, Droit; Enroughty, Darby; and Taliaferro, Tolliver.[29] The English Crowninshields pronounce every syllable of their name; the American Crowninshields commonly make it Crunshel. Van Schaick, an old New York name, is pronounced Von Scoik. A good many American Jews, aiming at a somewhat laborious refinement, change the pronunciation of the terminal stein in their names so that it rhymes, not with line, but with bean. Thus, in fashionable Jewish circles, there are no longer any Epsteins, Goldsteins and Hammersteins but only Epsteens, Goldsteens and Hammersteens. The American Jews differ further from the English in pronouncing Levy to make the first syllable rhyme with tea; the English Jews always make the name Lev-vy. To match such [Pg283] American prodigies as Darby for Enroughty, the English themselves have Hools for Howells, Sillinger for St. Leger, Sinjin for St. John, Pool for Powell, Weems for Wemyss, Kerduggen for Cadogen, Mobrer for Marlborough, Key for Cains, Marchbanks for Marjoribanks, Beecham for Beauchamp, Chumley for Cholmondeley, Trosley for Trotterscliffe, and Darby for Derby, not to mention Maudlin for Magdalen.
§ 2
Given Names—The non-Anglo Saxon American's willingness to anglicize his patronymic is far exceeded by his eagerness to give "American" baptismal names to his children. The favorite given names of the old country almost disappear in the first native-born generation. The Irish immigrants quickly dropped such names as Terence, Dennis and Patrick, and adopted in their places the less conspicuous John, George and William. The Germans, in the same way, abandoned Otto, August, Hermann, Ludwig, Heinrich, Wolfgang, Albrecht, Wilhelm, Kurt, Hans, Rudolf, Gottlieb, Johann and Franz. For some of these they substituted the English equivalents: Charles, Lewis, Henry, William, John, Frank and so on. In the room of others they began afflicting their offspring with more fanciful native names: Milton and Raymond were their chief favorites thirty or forty years ago.[30] The Jews carry the thing to great lengths. At present they seem to take most delight in Sidney, Irving, Milton, Roy, Stanley and Monroe, but they also call their sons John, Charles, Henry, Harold, William, Richard, James, Albert, Edward, Alfred, Frederick, Thomas, and even Mark, Luke and Matthew, and their daughters Mary, Gertrude, Estelle, Pauline, Alice and Edith. As a boy I went to school with many Jewish boys. The commonest given names among them were Isadore, Samuel, Jonas, Isaac and Israel. These are seldom bestowed by [Pg284] the rabbis of today. In the same school were a good many German pupils, boy and girl. Some of the girls bore such fine old German given names as Katharina, Wilhelmina, Elsa, Lotta, Ermentrude and Frankziska. All these have begun to disappear.
The newer immigrants, indeed, do not wait for the birth of children to demonstrate their naturalization; they change their own given names immediately they land. I am told by Abraham Cahan that this is done almost universally on the East Side of New York. "Even the most old-fashioned Jews immigrating to this country," he says, "change Yosel to Joseph, Yankel to Jacob, Liebel to Louis, Feivel to Philip, Itzik to Isaac, Ruven to Robert, and Moise or Motel to Morris." Moreover, the spelling of Morris, as the position of its bearer improves, commonly changes to Maurice, though the pronunciation may remain Mawruss, as in the case of Mr. Perlmutter. The immigrants of other stocks follow the same habit. Every Bohemian Vaclav or Vojt?ch becomes a William, every Jaroslav becomes a Jerry, every Bronislav a Barney, and every Stanislav a Stanley. The Italians run to Frank and Joe; so do the Hungarians and the Balkan peoples; the Russians quickly drop their national system of nomenclature and give their children names according to the American plan. Even the Chinese laundrymen of the big cities become John, George, Charlie and Frank; I once encountered one boasting the name of Emil.
The Puritan influence, in names as in ideas, has remained a good deal more potent in American than in England. The given name of the celebrated Praise-God Barebones marked a fashion which died out in England very quickly, but one still finds traces of it in America, e. g., in such women's names as Faith, Hope, Prudence, Charity and Mercy, and in such men's names as Peregrine.[31] The religious obsession of the New England colonists is also kept in mind by the persistence of Biblical names: Ezra, Hiram, Ezekial, Zachariah, Elijah, Elihu, and so on. These [Pg285] names excite the derision of the English; an American comic character, in an English play or novel, always bears one of them. Again, the fashion of using surnames as given names is far more widespread in America than in England. In this country, indeed, it takes on the character of a nation............
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