Author Topic: Anglicization of Names  (Read 3877 times)

Offline XPhile2868

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Anglicization of Names
« on: Wednesday 23 March 05 20:01 GMT (UK) »
Is there any clues that can be found that an ancestor changed their name to a more English variant?
(e.g. Kowalski/Haddad/Petulengro/Kovac/Kalviedas to Smith)

As far as i know, this hasnt happened in my family, but i would like to know of any clues which show possible anglicization.
Smith (Lancashire), McKenna (Ireland/Liverpool/Leyland), Maynard (Hertfordshire/London/Preston), Ricketts (Gloucestershire/Wigan/Preston), Scowcroft (Preston), Harling (N. Yorkshire/Lancashire), Willis (Preston), Clegg (Manchester/Preston), Dodd (Wigan/Cheshire), Alston (Lancashire), Hulks (Hertfordshire), Nicholson (Lancashire/Cumbria), Russell (Lancashire), Wilson (Cumbria), Bracewell (Lancashire), Moxham (Lancashire0

Census information is Crown Copyright, from

Offline Grothenwell

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Re: Anglicization of Names
« Reply #1 on: Friday 25 March 05 06:56 GMT (UK) »

I have a surname in my family tree, "Grothenwell". It doesn't appear to exist as a previous surname on it's own, as far as I have been able to find. There have been suggestions from a few people. That this Gentleman on moving to the UK from a german or dutch area may have changed his surname from a Grotewol/Grotenwahl/numerous variations.
He was a Merchant Seaman married a Scottish lady in 1820, but back from there the trail grows cold.
To answer your post, I believe that if it sounded difficult for Brits to pronounce they would change it to an easier version on the tongue/ears possibly?

Aberdeenshire; Brechin, Robb, Clark, Hardie, Johnston, Watt, Elmslie, Milne, Harper, Adam, Edmond, Laing, Gibson, Aedie, Jameson, Argo & Doverty.
Booth, Watson, Grothenwell, Ewen, Mackie, Simpson, Piper, Taylor, Davidson, Willox, Chalmers & Gordon
Still, Fraser, Robertson, Burnet & Lumsden
Banffshire; Cruickshank, Bennet, Broug, Allen, West & Lyal
Caithness; Sutherland
Herefordshire, Worcester, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire; Wagstaff, Jones, Turner, Wiggett, Hannes

Offline anne jane

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Re: Anglicization of Names
« Reply #2 on: Friday 25 March 05 08:14 GMT (UK) »
My great grandfather came to Scotland from Lithuania and changed his name from Pranas Kazlaukas to Frank Ross and one source of info I used was the poor law applications which contained both his names.  So it may be worth your while searching them

Hope this will be of some help

meehan, hughes, falloon, mctague, connelly, clark, kazlaukas,johnstone, mcguigan, fenton, mcneil,shaw, thomson

Offline emilysiobhan

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Re: Anglicization of Names
« Reply #3 on: Friday 25 March 05 08:37 GMT (UK) »
I'd guess that depending on when they changed/anglicized their name there may or may not be any clues....some people may have become nationalized brits at the same time and perhaps it's then recorded in their naturalization record.

I wonder also how common it might be that people might use their first name as an anglacized new surname;
my great grandfather came over from Eastern europe in 1890ish and then changed his name in 1910's from
Martin Domaszewicz to Peter Martin.
As far as I know there is no official record of this but my grandfather an his siblings lived long enough to pass the info on to future generations

I think it wasn't too uncommon in the periods around the wars for people to change foreign sounding surnames

Cork: Collins,
Herts/Beds:  Pope,Harwood
Essex:  Bryant, Pumfrey, Williams, Keyes,Totham, Citchen
Surrey/London: Shields, Woolf, Cooper, Quinton, Plumer
other: Cuskern,  Domazsewicz
Wales: Morgan, Mathews, Thomas (x2), Trew, Protheroe, Owen

Census information is Crown copyright

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Anglicization of Names
« Reply #4 on: Friday 25 March 05 09:43 GMT (UK) »
Hi All,

I have a thread on the Immigrants boards, where i put down some ideas about name changes,11860.msg39502.html#msg39502

But in  general there are no "hard and fast" rules.

Coincidently, I just read a family history book, where they cited the case of the family of Christoph Degenhardt, who came to Britain in 1859. At the turn of the century, the two sons decided that german-sounding names  were not good, so they change theirs:
Walter Degenhardt became Walter Hart and Frederick Charles Degenhart became Frederick Charles !

On the above thread is also a link to this story:

".. Abraham ben Isaiah, otherwise known as Moses Abraham Groomsfelt, or Jones,
a silversmith .."
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see:

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Offline Mobo

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Re: Anglicization of Names
« Reply #5 on: Friday 25 March 05 10:22 GMT (UK) »
 :) :) :)

At one time, I lived in an area where many of my friends/neighbours were Jewish, their parents having emigrated to England between the two world wars.  It was quite interesting to see how their name changes had evolved, for instance.

Matz became MARSH
Rosenblum (Rosetree) became ROSE
Rosenthal (Valley of Roses) became ROSE
Goldberg (Goldhill) became GOLD
Nagel (Nail) became NEAL
Weinberg (Vineyard on a HIll) became WINNER
etc. etc.

However, some names were dumped altogether - for instance, the British Royal Family were called SACHSE-COBURG-GOTHA, but became Windsor to keep the 'natives' happy.

Whereas Lord Battenberg, always proud of his name, kept to the English translation -  Mountbatten.

 :D :D :D :D

BUCKLEY, Ches. DUNN, Ireland & Lancs. EDGSON, Rutland, Leics & Lancs. LYON, Lancs. McNULTY, Ireland & Lancs. MORRIS, Beds, Hunts & Lancs. SWARBRICK, Lancs. TURNER, Lancs. WILLIAMSON, Lancs.

All Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: