Friday, September 29, 2006


By John Ross Harvey

Perhaps more a history lesson than comedy
But there’s nothing wrong with that
In the early years of Ireland
Names were an indication of your parentage
But not the same way as today
Today, children take your last name
Depending on the mother’s decision
It’s normally the father’s last name
But more recently it could be either, or both, with a hyphen
My son’s friend has such a name, with father’s first
In the era of Brian Boru in Ireland
He was the son of Cennedi
He went by Brian Mac Cennedi
Meaning Brian son of Cennedi
Later generations adopted O’Brian
Which means son of Brian
Cennedi eventually became Kennedy
So we know that O, and Mac mean “son of”
And you should know that Fitz also means this
Gerald Fitzgerald is Gerald son of Gerald
Makes you wonder how Fitzgibbon came about
Who calls their child Gibbon?
No doubt a more literal son of translation is son on the end
Like Ferguson or Robertson or Masterson or Patterson
But then who calls their child Master or Patter?
Nothing wrong with the idea, just curious how it started
My name is not a hyphenated version of Mother’s and Father’s
But I do have both their surnames
I use my Mother’s as my middle name
Middle names are important to a parent more than a child
Using them to call the child means they’re in trouble
You ask Bobby Jones to stop doing something he wont hear you
You ask Bobby Jeremiah Jones, and he’ll stand at attention!
My own name has versions in other languages
Yours probably does too
Jean in French, Ivan in Russian, Juan in Spanish and Iain in Gaelic
It is likely also Johann in German and/or Austrian
Despite many people believing my name to be Jonathan
It never has been and never will be
One work colleague calls me John, no than
Very few are allowed to call be Johnny, and one calls be John John
In sports it tends to be shortened to J.R.
As several Johns play sports, it’s just easier to go by letters.
Do you ever wonder about people you only know by initials?
Most of them will be a J
J.P., J.D., J.F., J.C., J.R., J.T., J.L. etc.
Jefferson Patterson? Jeremiah Douglas? James Frank? Jeremy Clark?
Johnson Robert? Jennifer Teresa? Janet Leslie?
It could be anything at really
Even Jet Plane, Jump Diva, Junior Fish, Jericho Crash, Jeep Renegade,
Japan Trinidad, or Jersey Louisiana
How will you know unless you ask?

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