Question of the Week: What's the strangest surname you've found in your research?

+20 votes

imageWhat is the strangest surname you have found in your genealogy research?

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
edited by Eowyn Walker
There is Truelove on my husband's tree.  I have also come across Loveless.  The strangest name on my tree is Gyte.
I have found Snodgrass family members.
I used to know an entire family of Snodgrasses. They are very nice people and also accomplished.
It's an interesting name it possibly comes from Snod meaning neat or tidy and then grass possibly from field or medow. Perhaps the Snodgrass family were land owners?  I can't wait to find out about the Snodgrass members of my family. I'm still working on my family tree. Thank you kindly for your comment.
I have found a family member with the first name love also. Very sweet!

78 Answers

+7 votes
My GGrandmother was a "Dakan". I've not been able to find much information on that surname anywhere!
by Dynette France G2G1 (1.3k points)
+8 votes
Several in my tree are unusual-Leimkuehler which means someone living near a clay pit; Featherkill, seems Native American,but might have been a spelling change from an English name, Fothergyll. Another was Disharoon. ,And then my own German surname, Juedeman, which was spelled Jüdemann and means Jewish man. I haven’t found any Jewish ancestors, but it has always puzzled me.
by Sherry Juedeman G2G6 (8.7k points)
+8 votes

In my brother-in-law's family, I found a Hunkapiller. I got in touch with a friendly Hunkapiller Wikitreer who told me that it was a very creative derivation of the German name "Hungerbieler." 

by Sarah Kroh G2G6 Mach 1 (13.7k points)
+8 votes

The surname of my great-grandmother was a humdinger.... Anna Szczodra (female version of surname Szczodry) and she married Jacob Zdrzewielski so his surname was a humdinger too. It took my entire history of researching to finally find the original spelling of their names, as the surname was changed in America. Thank you to the Poznan Project for that!! - Also within a day of finding their marriage record in the Poznan (Posen) region of Poland, I found her Find A Grave which had been indexed with a misspelling of her married name in America, and I really felt like she was looking over my shoulder wanting to be found!!  


by Bonnie Follett G2G3 (3.3k points)
edited by Bonnie Follett
+8 votes
The Smaltzreid family is part of my mother's heritage. It is German for "fat field"
by Thom John G2G1 (1.1k points)
+8 votes
Heavens to Murgatroyd!  I just found a Murgatroid!
by Barbara Mead G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)
+6 votes
Grimm I think is the strangest surname in my family.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Mach 6 (62.3k points)
+6 votes
Strangeways. That one made me happy. LOL
by T Harrison G2G Crew (380 points)
+5 votes
The strangest name I ever came across was Silence Belcher.
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
+6 votes
Mums maiden name - Manktelow. Comes from southern France
by Fran Sharland G2G Crew (380 points)
+7 votes
Eoll..... the name taken  by an illegitimate forbear.....might be from the Greek god of the winds....Aeolus.
by Adele Main G2G Crew (410 points)
+9 votes
My husband’s great aunt’s married name was Laughinghouse. I wondered if that meant the family tended towards cheerfulness? Lol
by lk Camp G2G Crew (470 points)
+8 votes
Not from my tree, but from my FreeBMD transcriptions, I keep a list of unusual names, research them and add them to WikiTree. My new batch includes Dimlar, Diggle, Diespecker, and Diantschoute. Probably not so unusual in their ancestral countries, but certainly unusual in England. I just love the thrill of the hunt!
by Patty Keffer G2G6 Mach 1 (16.2k points)
+9 votes
I have a strange given name in my tree - "Strangeman" Hutchens. Does that count?
by Doris Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (13.2k points)
Hi cousin! Strangeman Hutchins is in my tree too.
+7 votes
My grandmother was a Cookingham. I always thought it was apt because her favorite dish was a roasted ham. It was originally Kuchenhan (or some variant) when her ancestors came to America in the 1750s.
by Kathleen Tesluk G2G1 (1.4k points)
+4 votes
By "strange" you could mean peculiar, odd, or unusual. However "strange" also has another meaning. It could mean far removed from a family. My great grandfather's name was Charles Pierson Smith. In those days, the middle name often was a mother's or grandmother's maiden name.

This middle name may not seem strange according to the first definition. However, I have yet to find any family member or ancestor with a surname of "Pierson." No one in my family has explained the origin of this name, so it remains "strange."
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (155k points)
+6 votes
Wildbore/Wildboar. At first just an odd surname among my 18th century Huntingdonshire ancestors, then when I managed to trace them back further it turns out they're connected to a Yeoman family that appears in the 1618 Visitation of Northamptonshire.
by James Knighton G2G6 Mach 2 (25.0k points)
+6 votes
My maternal great-grandaunt married into the Scattergood family.  I expected it to mean a generous person who did good deeds but in fact it may originally have meant the exact opposite - a spendthrift who wasted their money.  According to Ancestry, it is thought to come from middle English or Scandinavian words 'skater' to squander and 'gode' meaning property or wealth.
by Elizabeth Eady G2G1 (1.7k points)
+6 votes
My mother's first husband's grandmother was Wahlfahrt. Maybe not the strangest name ever but certainly made me laugh out loud. Of course it was also her father's name. They were from Switzerland in the early 1800's
by Kathleen Mclaren G2G Crew (480 points)
+6 votes
The strangest surname I have found so far is Pancake.  This family line was in Pennsylvania moved to Virginia and then into Vinton County in Southern Ohio.
by Lisa Ankrum G2G5 (5.1k points)

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