What’s in a name? – part 1

My friend, and fellow ADF Druid, Leithin Cluan recently wrote about names on her blog.   This has gotten me thinking about my own names–first and last–and what they mean to me. (This particular post will just focus on last names.)

I’ve actually been doing a lot of reflecting on names lately, since I am getting married in a little over two months.  I had long decided to keep my last name and simply hyphenate my last name with my fiance’s.  This is very important to me, as it reflects my heritage along with my fiance’s.

My own last name is “Laughlin.”  Ancestry.com says: 

“Irish: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Lochlainn ‘descendant of Lochlann’, a personal name meaning ‘stranger’, originally a term denoting Scandinavia (a compound of loch ‘lake’, ‘fjord’ + lann ‘land’).”  (1)

My name tells me who my Ancestors were–Vikings.  This is why I honor the Norse pantheon exclusively in my rituals.  Since I am the only unmarried person on my dad’s side of the family with this last name, I plan to keep it and wear it with honor and pride.

However, I also wish to honor my fiance’s heritage.  His original last name was “Casarez,” which reflects his Mexican heritage (though there is Irish in there too).  Interestingly, when his Ancestors immigrated to the US, it was spelled wrong as “Casares.”  This is interesting because “Casares” is the original spelling of this name, according to Ancestry.com.  The website says this about my fiance’s last name:

“Spanish and Galician: from the plural of casar, casal ‘farm’, hence a topographic name, or a habitational name from any of numerous places called Casares or named with this word, especially in Galicia.” (2)

For those of you not in the know, “Galicia is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, with the official status of a nationality,” according to Wikipedia. (3)  The article also states that this community is descended from one of the Celtic tribes.  the Mexicans who inhabit Mexico today are descended from Spaniards, who descended from Celts!  The Celtic tribes are usually associated with Scotland and Ireland, not Spain.  However, it is easy to see how someone with Irish-Mexican heritage is not really unusual with this information.

We have decided that our children, whenever we decide to have them, will take the hyphenated name so that they will remember all of their Ancestors.

Blessings, Victoria

(1) Ancestry.com.  “Laughlin Name Meaning & Laughlin Family History at Ancestry.com.”  2013.  Web.  5 July 2013.  <http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=laughlin&gt;

(2) Ancestry.com.  “Casares Name Meaning & Casares Family History at Ancestry.com.”  2013.  Web.  5 July 2013.  <http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=casares&gt;

(3) Wikipedia contributors. “Galicia (Spain).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Jul. 2013. Web. 5 Jul. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Galicia_(Spain)&oldid=562618521>


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