I try to pick unique or unusual surnames to research for Surname Saturday articles, and I’m also happy to take suggestions for surnames to research and write about. Here are a few from last year that could use a boost in viewership:
Surname Saturday: Overhuls (Oberholzer) – I wrote this article after visiting the Estacado Cemetery. It was a name I’d never seen before and obviously had some sort of European (German) ethnicity attached to it. This article contains some history about James Overhuls, a Civil War veteran buried in Estacado, plus background on the history of his surname.
Surname Saturday: Marple – An interesting name that is family name of a friend. Sometimes it bogged down a bit with research with all the “Miss Marple” references, but was an article that lead to some other articles (Tombstone Tuesday: Albinus Reger Marple and an article series about one of the oldest Baptist churches in America, Pennepack Baptist Church.
Common Words As Surnames
I’m always amazed at the vast number of surnames and sometimes the surname is the same as commonly used words. The drawback of researching these names is the commonness of the word, making it harder sometimes to find interesting people to write about (you have to be a whiz at Google to make it work!). Here are a few that didn’t get a lot of readership but I think deserve a second chance:
Keep – Includes an interesting story about an early American named John Keep and his run-in with Indians;
Pray – several theories on the origin of this surname, plus some musings on the surname and some unique forenames I discovered as well;
Thing – the “Thing” surname article was difficult to research as to people with this surname, so I took a different angle, writing it sort of tongue-in-cheek;
Purchase – I had written a Tombstone Tuesday article about Philander Purchase (how’s that for a name!?!?) and decided to research the surname.
Doe – The ultimate commonly used surname since we hear about “John Doe” when someone’s name is unknown and, as it turns out, it’s still the most common actual “Doe” name.
I’ll (probably) wrap up my 2014 retrospective tomorrow and get back to writing a daily article . . . it’s been a nice reprieve so I could work on the new web site and do some research, but it’s time to get back to work!
Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!