Thursday, 22 September 2011

What's in a name?

Growing up with a name like "Ball" was never easy.... just think of all the variations that kids can come up with - Bald, Baldy - and the sports - football, baseball, basketball, broomball, and other inanimate objects, ball game, ballroom, ballpark.  I think that I might have heard them all over the years.  Dad always used to caution my sister and me to be careful of who you marry - the wrong choice of combined surnames could be troublesome.

So what's in a name? According to the Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames by Charles Wareing Bardsley (1967), Ball is a name was given to mean 'the son of Baldwin' from the nickname Bald.  The 'd' was eventually dropped because it suggested baldness. Henry Harrison wrote in Surnames of the United Kingdom, a Concise Etymologoical Dictionary (1912) that Ball is "(Teutonic) A diminutive form of Baldwin. (Origin Celtic) Bald. (French / Latin) With bay colored or chesnut chair. (Latin) nut-brown. (French Teutonic) The name Ball derived from the trade-sign of a Ball."   Bald and brown.....who knew?

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