Clever (But It Wouldn’t Work Today)

The most recent issue of the Ostfriesen “NeuesBlatt”, the quarterly newsletter of the Ostfriesen Heritage Society, Richard Behrens has an informative article titled “Adoption of Surnames.” He describes how the use of surnames came about in the Ostfriesen (Northwest)  area of Germany and why some particular names were chosen.

There was much resistance to altering this long tradition of patronymic names and the article relates how some of the resistant (and cunning) Ostfriesens coped: many of them bore the same name as their grandfather. So when the grandson was called to present himself for military service, the grandfather would report, accurately claiming that was his name. Of course, the older man was excused from being enlisted and the French, under the emperor Napoleon, were outwitted.

I have heard tales about the stubborn and obstinate character of the Ostfriesens (and probably inherited it as well), but this tale demonstrates they were immensely clever, too!

Advertisements

About maryjlohr

Avid genealogist.
This entry was posted in German Ancestry, Ostfriesen Ancestry and Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s