The Name Game

One day at Elizabethtown High School, a lovely girl from Mississippi with long, red locks strolled into our class a month or two into the term. We were mesmerized by her Southern drawl and relaxed manner. Her name was Jeannine Loux, a last name which she stretched out into two syllables: Looow-ux. We all made up excuses to talk to her just to hear her strange but melodic speech. Obviously, when the roll was called her name stood out among the the German-Swiss names we were used to hearing.

That was the 1950s. Since then, the culture in Pennsylvania Dutch country has become more diverse. Like in Jacksonville, Florida, there are family names like Chen, Patel or Lychenko in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, phone book. Still, names in either phone directory, an ever-shrinking publication, can give clues to family origin.2Phonephoto Play The Name Game. Which group from Elizabethtown? Which from Jacksonville? You get extra points for saying the names aloud.

Group A

  1. Adams
  2. Anderson
  3. Bailey
  4. Jones
  5. McCall
  6. Higgenbotham
  7. Smith
  8. Taylor
  9. Thigpen
  10. Thistlethwaite

Group B

  1. Diffenderfer
  2. Herr
  3. Hollinger
  4. Kleinfelter
  5. Kauffman
  6. Oberholtzer
  7. Raffensburger
  8. Reifsnyder
  9. Shellenburger
  10. Zimmerman

Any strange-sounding names from your ancestry to share? From another family?


5 thoughts on “The Name Game

  1. So easy! 🙂 Group two is from Elizabethtown.

    Some people use the maiden name of the mother as the first name of the child, usually a boy. So I remember Hershey Rohrer and Rohrer Hershey as names. I also remember a friend whose name was Schwartzendruber saying he thinks he ought to run for office with Arnold Schwartzenegger. 🙂


    1. Years ago, my Dad had a customer at Longenecker Farm Supply named Shelly Shellenberger; undoubtedly his first name was his mother’s maiden name. Also, my mother remembers a friend named Witmer Shearer, who married Sarah Shearer. (Say her name aloud to get the full rhyming effect!) Interesting how ancestry is preserved in the intertwining of maiden and married names.


  2. Some families also used the mother’s maiden name for the child’s middle name. My father was the first born and first born son so his name was Landis Landis Metzler.


Thank You for Leaving a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s