Before you say no, consider “What’s in a name?”
“A rose,” said Juliet to Romeo, “by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Oh, yeah? What if your local nursery had a beautiful looking rose named “Garbage Dump on a Hot, Humid Day (or G’Day)?” The nursery notes that: “The G’Day rose was found at our local land fill among over-ripe vegetables, used condoms, rotten meat and what appears to parts of a victim of The Sopranos. It is a healthy, compact, low growing plant that has buds that open to dainty, altogether charming flowers. It is vigorous, heat tolerant and disease resistant with long-lasting flowers of deep blood-red and velvety petals. Its fragrance – well – denotes its origins and would make a wonderful addition to your garden, especially if you hate your neighbors.” I think that most of us would pass and settle for roses named Double Delight or New Dawn.
Those of us with long or unpronounceable or phonetically-challenged names suffer consequences from birth not unlike the G’Day rose. These are consequences not experienced by people named Smith or Jones.
Consider the plight of the Bater’s. It is an English (Devon) occupational name from Old French bateor “one who beats,” possibly denoting a textile or metal worker. How appropriate when you receive mail addressed to Master Bater.
There is the fine old German family name of Fuchs; In English, it is better that is rhymes with books and not with ducks.
Names do not have to be long to be difficult to pronounce. Consider Przbrz. No, it is not priz-biz. It is Polish and pronounce (phonetically) sheb-bish.
Which brings us to the unfortunately named Peerage of Atholl.
The Duke of Atholl, named after Atholl in Scotland, is a title of peerage in Scotland held by the Clan Murray. It was created by Queen Anne in 1703 for John Murray, 2nd Marquess. Now there are a number of perfectly respectable peerages in Scotland – Hamilton, Argyll, Montrose, Huntly and Queensberry to name a few – so what did the head of Clan Murray do to have Queen Anne elevate him to such ignoble status?
According to Wikipedia, the town of Blair Atholl is built about the confluence of the rivers Tilt and Garry in one of the few areas of flat land in the Grampian Mountains. The Gaelic place-name Blair or field refers to this location while Atholl, which means “new Ireland” refers to the surrounding district.
Aha! Is it possible that this is how Queen Anne regarded anyone from Ireland?
Keep that in mind when you decide to submit to Ancestry DNA to find your true roots and discover that you are, in fact,
… an Atholl.