What’s In A Name
Posted on August 13, 2010
I was playing around on the computer the other day looking at Googles predictive search engine (it was raining) where it give you the most popular searches as you type in letters. For example if you type “A” Amazon pings up.
Just as I was getting bored of this sad and pointless exercise (it was raining harder outside now) I decided to type in “What” and third or Fourth on the list was “What does my name mean?” Now this would be more interesting, people called Smith, Butcher, Baker, Carpenter, Painter, Miller and Turner have obvious references to the origin of their names, but Lethaby has as far as I can see has no obvious reference, though I was correctly tagged Lethargy by my teachers at school.
The first site I came to said “no definition” when I typed my name in the box, so I typed in Smith to see if the site worked properly, and it said, and I quote: “Cum stainer, masturbator, wanker” Hmmm wrong site I think, though I suppose everyone knows a Smith who is a wanker, I do, his name is Andrew. Anyway I pushed on in my quest to find the meaning of my name, and the next site had no definition, but it did take me to Lethaby Umbrellas a seemingly succesful company in New Zealand that also sells a selection of garden tables and chairs, but has no reference to the origin of it’s name.
I was also guided to other Lethaby’s such as William Richard Lethaby who is featured on wikipedia as a highly influential architect in the 1800’s and there is also a Lethaby Gallery at St Martins College, plus a wine importer called Roger Lethaby all of whom made me begin to feel quite inadequate in my little house, but there was still no reference to what my name meant.
I tried and tried, but after being referred to loads of useless sites I had no joy, so I still don’t know what Lethaby means or where it comes from. If anyone can help, please do, maybe there was once a trade called Lethaby, maybe no one knows, or ever will do. Perhaps we should have just stuck to names of professions like Cook, Brewer and Farmer. Imagine that in 500 years time, we would have names like Dave Doubleglazing, Colin Callcentreoperative and Harry Hedgefundmanager. These names would probably be just as hard to find meanings of as Lethaby is now, though Hedgefundmanager would probably be defined as a “Cum stainer, masturbator, and wanker“
Frustrated I jumped to my mothers side of the family………………they were called Brown and I now know that at least half of me comes from a name that means a dark tertiary color with a yellowish or reddish hue,and that one of my ancestors may have been a person whose skin has a dusky or light-brown pigmentation, somewhat unlikely since they originate from Scotland. The name Blue would have been more appropriate in this instance.