Are you an Atholl?

 

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.

Areyou1

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.

 

 

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15 responses to “Are you an Atholl?

  1. Very good! … I have one of the last names people love to butcher … but not Irish or Scot in my blood.

  2. Uh-oh. I already know I have Irish roots; and the Henders name can be traced back to around 1750 in Ireland, at which point it seems to be a dead end. Maybe my ancestors were such Atholls that they had to change their family name.

  3. Curmudge, I guess it’s subjective, but I much prefer Atholl to Przbiz no matter how it’s pronounced. And if you called Romeo Skunk Cabbage, he’d still smell as sweet to Juliet who would have willingly accepted being a living Mrs Skunk Cabbage to the alternative. 🙂

  4. This made me laugh! Especially since Massachusetts, my home state, has a town named Athol. We always put the descriptor “the unfortunately named” before it whenever we mention the name.
    So nice reading you. Haven’t posted in a while!

  5. While I can’t lay claim to any Atholl genes, I might be able to document a Murrayism or two. Depends on net value of course.

    • The net value of being an Atholl is about 1 million rasbuckniks.*
      *One rasbucknik was worth nothing at all; a million rasbuckniks are worth even less because of all the trouble of lugging them around.

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