Tag Archives: Family Names


30 Jun


Judy Wills

Have you ever thought about your family name? Where did it come from?  Has it been changed or “revised” through the ages?

My family name has done just that.  One of my father’s siblings did a genealogy research some years ago, and found the name of our original immigrant from Germany in the 1700’s.  The original name was Leitzinger.  I have so much regret that I wasn’t that interested in genealogy while we spent those six years in Germany to do any searching on my own.  Time wasted.

In any case, Leitzinger was changed to Leitsey, and eventually down to Lites, which is my maiden name…as well as my brother’s name.  I kind of like it – it is unusual, and there are many, many relatives throughout the United States.

But that brings me back to my topic – Cooper. Did you know that, back in the Middle Ages (and probably before), people were named for their occupation?

The blacksmith in the village was called “Smith.” 

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The baker was called “Baker.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The one who fashioned crockery was the “Potter.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by cstibi

The one who worked with stone was the “Mason.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Henryk Niestrój

The one who made your clothing was the “Tailor.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Erik Lyngsøe

The one who made rugs and tapestry was the “Weaver.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Sabine van Erp

 And so on. However, the one I want to talk about today is the Cooper.  

Credit to Pixabay and Image by kaufcom

According to Google search and ThoughtCo. – The surname Cooper is an English occupational name for one who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs. The name derives from the Middle English couper, cowper, adapted from Middle Dutch kuper, a derivative of kup, meaning “tub” or “container.” Cooper may also be an Anglicized version of a similar sounding surname such as the Dutch Kuiper, or the Jewish Kupfer or Kupper.

What brought this to mind, was that I learned about “cooper” while we visited Colonial Williamsburg many years ago.  Since then, I have seen several restaurants named “Cooper” or Cooper’s” – and the symbol on the restaurant sign is a barrel.  I mentioned that to my mother once, while I was visiting her in Albuquerque. We saw a sign for “The Cooperage ” and it had the barrel on it.  She had no idea. 

Credit Google Search and the cooperage website

 Even Cracker Barrel uses the barrel in their sign:

And so, even today, when I see the name “Cooper” I visualize a barrel.   I just found that to be interesting.  Perhaps not to you, but it is to me.

Credit to Pixabay and  Image by Herm

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top. Fred says he has walked on top, and his parents danced on it.

Credit to Pixabay andImage by K. H. J. / MCI.

Old postcard drawing.  It holds 221,726 liters of wine.

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top.

Think about your surname – see if you can find where it came from – and where your ancestors are from.  Interesting stuff.

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

What’s in a Name

5 Feb


Judy Wills

Have you ever considered your name? I mean, really thought about your name…why you were given the name you have…if you were named after someone…if so, who and why? And do you think that you were only given a middle name so you would know when you were in trouble?

In olden times, names were given to a child, and that child was expected to “live up” to the meaning of that name.

Perhaps because I’m older now, but I wonder about things like that. I remember asking my in-laws to give me their childhood memories. My Father-in-law started in with the statement “Don’t you know that within five generations you have a million people? There’s no way I can give you that!”

When I explained that I didn’t want those millions – I only wanted his memories, and my Mother-in-law’s memories, and he said, “Oh!” And that’s how the memories book came to be. They were true to their word and we have some wonderful memories about themselves, that would have been lost if I hadn’t insisted.




Within that memories book, are the stories of how their four children were named. When my husband was born, Fred’s mother wrote: We took a long time deciding on his name, but we finally decided to name him for his two grandfathers. They both had the name Charles, so we took the Charles from the Wills side and Frederic from my side (Dad Wills had an initial only for his second name! His parents could not agree on Henry or Harry so named him Charles H. Wills!)




And because both Grandfathers as well as Fred’s Dad were named Charles, they called him Fred. So he is Fred today – except for the military. They insist on “First name, Middle initial, Last name.” No exceptions. It was sometimes difficult, since both of their names were Charles F. Wills.

I do know that Fred’s middle sister is somewhat named after Fred’s mother. She was Charlotte Emily, and Fred’s sister is Emily Ann.




Within Dad’s memories, he told of how they named the twins, when they were born. He wrote: ……made a friend in the person of the Company Commander of Company L, a First Lieutenant Earl S. Eaves…… He became a life-long friend: our twins, Larry and Sally, are named after him and his wife, Sally. We gave his name Earl to Larry as his middle name.




Fred’s Mother told me once that there was actually a fourth daughter born in her family, Lillian Elspeth. But she only lived to be two years old, and then died of spinal meningitis. Sally was named Sally Elspeth. When I told Sally about this, she was surprised, as her Mother had never told her that story.

On my side of this family, my maternal Grandmother was Addie Mae.




She named her first daughter Jessie Mae.




My Mother was named Agnes Anita,




and they named me Judith Anita.




I also remember my Aunt Jessie telling me that sometimes, when Granny was upset with either of them, she would get exasperated and yell “Jagnes!!” They weren’t sure just who Granny was upset with, but they both knew they were in trouble!

My father was one of 13 children, and they named him William Jacob.




When my brother was born, they named him after my father, version 2.




When my brother’s son was born, they named him William David (David after my sister-in-law’s brother).




All-in-all, we decided that, if we had sons, there would be NO Charleses and NO Williams! There had been enough of both in our families. But we only had daughters, so there was no problem!

So…..what’s in YOUR name?



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