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What is the History Behind Your Last Name? #spon #surnameproject

by Notorious Spinks on 08.21.2014

Dislosure for appPeople often ask if my “real” name is Spinks and I usually laugh. Of course, my surname is Spinks and besides, could I make that awesomeness up? But seriously, I love my last name. It was my daddy’s name and my granddaddy’s name and my great-granddaddy’s name. It is my name.

You all probably noticed that I’ve been missing in action lately. I know you missed me…

Last month I buried my dad. I didn’t really share it, but it was the third most difficult thing I’ve encountered in my life. The first was burying my big brother, the second was burying my mom three years ago and now this. Although my father and I didn’t have a great relationship, he was mine and I was his…and I have the last name to prove it. Spinks is my name and I plan to keep to keep it when and if I’m ever married. I’ll just hyphenate it.

Why am I so adamant about keeping my surname?

The history of African-Americans in this country is troubling. After doing research on Ancestry.com, I found that my great-great-great grandfather was mulatto and he took on the name of his slave master. I’m not sure if it was by force or by choice… I even question if the master was his father. But, what I do know is that I come from a strong lineage of people and through slavery, oppression, and Jim Crow, they made it.  So…yep, I’m keeping my name.

What about you? What significance does your surname hold to you? Do you know your last name origin? Ever done a family tree? Please share and to find out more about your family and the origins of you last name, head over to Ancestry.com for your free trial and the get the answers you seek!

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  • So sorry for your loss.
    I’m not too sure of my lineage, other than it traces back to Spain and Italy. I thought about going to ancenstry.com, I just might now 🙂

  • I’m sorry for your loss. I really need to join this and research my family history. I took on my husband’s name but I am still proud of my birthname!

  • I love learning about names. I tried to study french so I could learn more about my culture. And my college textbook had my last name. I may not be able to speak french but I do know what my last name means now.

  • I do not know the origin of my surname. But I have use Ancestry in my search for my birth parents and other relatives. It has been a great tool so far. I am hoping to dig deeper and trace back as much history as I can. Thanks for sharing.

    My condolence on the passing of your father.

  • Even though I don’t know the orgin of my surname, I think it would be fun and interesting to learn more about it.

  • I’m sorry about your dad, we lost our papa last year and it was and is still difficult to get through. I still use my maiden name on everything. My sister did a family tree and found out some really interesting things about our past relatives.

  • On my paternal side we have our heritage traced back to the 1100s and on my maternal side, to the 1800s. It’s important to me. My mother’s family immigrated to Colombia from Morocco, Africa. So although I appear very ‘white’, I am 1/2 Colombian and many of my family members are black. People often give me confused looks when I explain that these people are my family members!

    I also kept my name in my marriage, by the way and I totally understand where you are coming from. My husband met, grew into love with and married Heather Wilson. That has not changed after we got married. I will ALWAYS be Heather Wilson and yep, that’s the name my dad gave me. It’s a keeper.

    I love Ancestry.com and think everyone should use it. It’s always amazing to learn where you come from.

  • stephaniet

    I think your last name is great! Mines just three letters and all know is that it is Chinese and from a province in China. As for anyone past my grandparents I don’t know much. My father is passed so All I have is what I remember growing up. My moms side only goes to my grandparents as well, and all I know is they are originally from Ireland. I love my last name and although I have never been married I cannot see me changing my name. I have not done a family tree because I just don’t have the documents beyond my grandma on my fathers side. I do like to hear about others sharing your story. So thank you, and please accept my condolences on your father.

  • A couple of years ago, I got really, really interested in finding out about my family’s history. I had heard all of these great things (and not so great things) and just wanted to know more. So like everybody else, I hit up Ancestry.com. Unfortunately, I only got so far and then there was nothing. Like, nothing. I was so disappointed because I really wanted to know my history. A history that I had planned to teach my daughter. I did get to a point where my last name became that of a slave owner, so I THINK one of my ancestors did, in fact, take their owner’s name. Like you, I don’t know if it was by force or by choice.

    • I understand Vaneese. I intend to actually travel to that library that houses the records for so many families. I forgot the name of it but many historians use it when tracing family history. I hope you’re able to find out more via your journey. Also, be sure to check out the chat rooms in Ancestry.com. I’m sure some of the experts there can help.

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