Name -- Looks/Heritage Disconnect
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  1. #1
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    Name -- Looks/Heritage Disconnect

    Is there a disconnect between your name and your looks and/or heritage? Or, does your name accurately suggest who you are?

    It is interesting how some people who emigrated to the US acquired "Americanized" names the minute they hit these shores, usually courtesy of am immigration officer who just gave them new names, and other people have distinct "foreign" names three and four generations after their ancestors came to the US. When I see an anglo sounding first name-last name combination, I really have no preconceived notion of who or what the person is. When I see a distinctive non-anglo name, I usually assume that the name matches the person. But, I know people who do not "fit" their names. For example, I have a friend with no Russian heritage whatsoever whose mother gave him distinctive Russian given names just because she was a fan of Russian literature. Another example from my professional life occurred when I met two executives of a corporate client for the first time. One of the execs I had dealt with for some time over the phone -- his first name was Mario and he had an Italian-sounding last name, too. When I walked into the firm's reception area there were two guys -- one with an olive complexion and dark hair, the other was black. I immediately said "Hi Mario" to the guy with the olive complexion. Wrong. Mario with the Italian last name was the black guy. Both guys laughed and said that happened all of the time. But, I still was embarassed by my mistake. (I later found out that Mario's family was from Eritrea and had acquired their Italian name when it was an Italian colony).

    My name pretty much fits who I am. Mark (along with Jeff) was one of the most common first names of the 1950s and 1960s. So, my first name accurately predicts how old I am. My last name is German in origin, which accurately reflects where my paternal grandfather's family came from.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  2. #2
    Fat'r + Slow'r than TMB
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    My names are all deep in family, religious, and regional meaning. If you look at them all, they tell a story.

    And to really answer your question. I am 6'6" 252 lbs (today) and look exactly like I come from the fatherland which is where most of my family/names come from.
    Last edited by jupiterrn; 08-25-2009 at 06:54 AM.
    Just fast enough to know I am slow.

  3. #3
    Non non normal
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    My name has been taken for a jewish name when in fact it is hillbilly.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  4. #4
    Proud luddite
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    My name is very Anglo and I look pretty much as white as you can get. But the truth of the matter is that my mother's parents were from Central America, so technically speaking I'm 50% Hispanic. I freak people out when I tell them that. My ethnicity didn't get me anywhere though....I tried to apply for a minority scholarship in grad school and never heard back about that. I think the folks in the financial aid office are still laughing about that one. The Man is always trying to keep us down!!

  5. #5
    AIE
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    midnight melon mounter
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    My name is very Sikh (Alex is a nickname). There's a big disconnect, especially in wintertime when I'm pretty light-skinned.

  6. #6
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    My nephew (adopted from Guatemala) looks very hispanic/native American. His name, however, is almost stereotypically Irish. He's only 3.5 now, but I suspect that he will be the recipient of many double-takes in his life.

  7. #7
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    Not that anyone would really notice...

    ...but my last name is Syrian/Lebanese but I'm fair skinned and have hair like the dutch and german other side of the family.

  8. #8
    the fist
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    People always note with a name like Mike Hawk; I don't look Polish.
    FlexiSexual

  9. #9
    corning my own beef
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    My heritage is Norse, and my ancestors dropped a "j" from the middle of their surname in favor of an "i" and changed the pronounciation. But the family did not appear to use any cultural guidelines when giving birthnames, since they include several that are Norman and western European.

    Physical appearance is not "typically" Norwegian (dark hair and complexion), so I'm assuming there was some Celt influence somewhere in the family tree.
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  10. #10
    Honey Smack!
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    Pretty generically american here. Although when I lived in Florida as a lifeguard, I was ridiculously tanned and apparently looked very hispanic/puerto rican. Kept getting tourists coming up and firing off rapid fire spanish.

  11. #11
    waterproof*
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    My family name is spelled Raymond Luxury-Yach-t, but it's pronounced 'Throat-Warbler Mangrove'.



  12. #12
    Old and Fixed, Moderator
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    My last name of Hickey was originally O'Hickey when great grandparents immigrated from Ireland....

    As for first names, my father and his brothers were all basic, William, James, Dennis, and Robert...

    As for looks, we are all round faced, dark headed, blue/green eyed.....No doubt as to our Irish roots....
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Big is relative
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    If you want to see the ultimate "face doesn't match the name", spend some time in Oahu. I was stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and after a while, you get used to someone like Jimmy O'Reilly being a chinese guy. In the Outlook directory there were over 100 Lee's but you could tell who the Chinese Lee's were if they had two middle initials. The worst part for me was when I was looking for an engineer I had never met and my only description to go by was that he was Korean. More often than not, names weren't on the outside of cubicles so I had to look for someone with Korean features. I failed several times but most people were good natured about it.

    My father's side immigrated from Scotland in the early 1700's and my mom's side came over from Holland in 1740. My great great grandmother was a Cherokee.
    Retired sailor

  14. #14
    What'd I do?
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    I went into a convenience store at the end of a long ride on a sunny day when I'd forgotten my sunglasses, the clerk asked me which of my parents was Chinese.

    Usually me and all my sisters are referred to as the Irish people with the Italian name. The Irish really comes out when I'm in full beard - red.

  15. #15
    Cap'n of Industry
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    I've got an English name and I suppose appearance. Married a nice Scottish girl, from TX, who talks like an Okie. Family has been here since 1682 when a sick sailor was put ashore to die. He didn't.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I can't comment on my last name. My first name, Mac, fits me.

  17. #17
    Fat and slow but trying
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    I am mostly English and my name (Ashton) and appearance pretty much is in line with that. I have some Scottish thrown in for good measure but nothing in my name or look would show that.

  18. #18
    "El Bwana"
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    My last name is French and I've got a nose like de Gaulle
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    "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?"

  19. #19
    still shedding season
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    Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Kraut. I get mistaken for Swedish but (other than those two things) I don't see why. My ancestors with the last name have been here a long time, but there have been no changes to the spelling that I'm aware of. First name isn't the most common but not any pointers towards ancestry.

  20. #20
    Bacon!
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    I inhertited the Irish/Yugoslavian side as far as looks and paleness. I'm not sure how my Dad's Hopi Native American blood and genetics seemed to disown me. My brother got the skin and hair so he can tan like no one's business. I and my sister burn and get skin cancer . I haven't put it to the test but I think I can drink more than him though.

  21. #21
    Mehpic
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    blond eyed blue haired european mutt- irish, german, polish, french. last name extremely prussian. (read, German- however, grandpa wasnt going to call it German during WWII)

    irish part has been here forever (revolutionary war time- heck, one family member owned the green dragon tavern, where paul revere et all got together to throw down the man)
    german part has been here since pre WWI
    polish was early 1900s through Ellis island (donated enough to have a paver w/ the family name)
    french: pre WWII as well to Quebec and then to Chicago. there are apparently still family members w/ near the same spelling of the family name in a small village near Amiens
    catzilla: I wish we were all a little more invincible.

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  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Mom's off-the-boat Irish; my father's mother was also Irish; but dad's father was from Austria. So I'm all kinds of Irish, but with a Germanic last name.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Well, I am tall, blond (well, what little hair I have left), blue eyed, and have a German name, so, yeah, I guess so (even if my ancestory is more Swedish). Yeah, yeah, really far away from each other geographically, I know.

  24. #24
    Frog Whisperer
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    polish russian jew................hard to escape it......First name = Eric.......no confusing me for a viking, dark, curly hair (what's left), olive complexion, body hair, medium/large beak......talk with my hands, 5 foot 5..........my kids, on the other hand are true mutt's, a couple of red-heads and a couple of light brunettes!


    edit: but I want to be tall
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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  25. #25
    Failboat Captian
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkS
    My name pretty much fits who I am. Mark (along with Jeff) was one of the most common first names of the 1950s and 1960s. So, my first name accurately predicts how old I am. My last name is German in origin, which accurately reflects where my paternal grandfather's family came from.
    Sounds like you and me could be brothers. John seems to be the most common name of all time. I remember being in Catholic school in Baltimore in the 70s with 4 other kids named John in my classes. Blue eyed blond German.

    My wife is half Spanish and Half Eye-Talian. Her first name could pass for either but is spelled the Spanish way, and her last name was pure Italian. There are 4 Tommy's, a Mario, a Salvatore, and other names in her father's side of the family that would make you swear they *are* the mob. Most of them live around NY and NJ too. Her mother was from Madrid and lived there until some USAF dude swept her off her feet and brought her to the states.

    No doubt where we are from.
    "I'm tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am."
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