What is in a Name?


I have early memories of my father telling me how important it was how I conducted myself in life, not only for my own sake, but also for the honor of our family name. All those who came before me and their sacrifices gave me such a great family heritage and one I could be proud of. It was my responsibility to live in a way that my descendants would be proud of their family name. I spent the first twenty years of my life with my maiden surname “Danner”. For the next twenty years my surname was “Liggett”. Since 2000, I have had the surname of my sweet and “vary lovable” husband, Danny “Loveless”. With each of my surnames, I have tried to follow my father’s advice and live my life in a way that would bring honor to that family name. So what is the meaning and origin of my three family names that I have had?
Danner : Name Meaning German: topographic name for someone who lived in or by a forest, from Middle Low German dan, Middle High German tan ‘pine’, ‘forest’ + the suffix -er denoting an inhabitant. Danner Family Origin: Germany, Württemberg, Switzerland, Baden, Bavaria, and Preussen.”
As I wrote in some of my other blogs, my paternal 6th Great grandfather, Michael Danner was one of two sole survivors of his family who were all killed off during the wars that were going on in the area of Switzerland where the family lived. Their original family surname was “Tanner” and somewhere between the wars and being pushed to the German area and coming to America they change their family surname to “Danner”. So I wanted to learn more about the meaning and origin of the “Tanner” family name.
Tanner: Name Meaning English and Dutch: occupational name for a tanner of skins. Swiss and German: habitational name for someone from any of several places called Tanne (in the Harz Mountains and Silesia) or Tann (southern Germany). Tanner Family Origin: England, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Great Britain, and France.”
Liggett: Name Meaning English (now found mainly in northern Ireland): topographic name from Middle English lidyate ‘gate in a fence between plowed land and meadow’ (Old English hlid-geat ‘swing-gate’), or a habituation name from one of the places named with this word, as for example Lidgate in Suffolk or Lydiate in Lancashire. Liggett Family Origin: Ireland, Great Britain, England, Thonigstutter, Sweden, and Denmark.”
Loveless: Name Meaning nickname from Middle English loveles ‘loveless’, ‘without love’, probably in the sense ‘fancy free’. Some early examples, such as Richard Lovelas (Kent 1344), may have as their second element Middle English las(se) ‘girl’, ‘maiden’. Loveless Family Origin: England, Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. The name was originally spelled LoveLaz, a French word said to denote work as a secretary, clerk or scribe. Because education even in the forecourt and registry officials was rare, the spelling often varied even from brother, to brother. Today, the Lovelaces, the Lovelesses or Lovelys are all members of the same family. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edith Luvelece, which was dated 1243, who was a witness at the Somerset Assize Court, Taunton, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as ‘The Frenchman’, 1216 – 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. ”
I will admit that with each name I have had my share of being teased by some over my surname. I found that there are a many opinions in this world as there are people of all forms of diversity. Since most of the teasing was just friendly jousting I just smile and laugh with whoever is doing the teasing. After all I have done my share of teasing others over their family surnames. Life is meant to enjoy and having a little laugh or two over teasing of our names is all fun and games.
Another one of my favorite pass times is American NFL football. Since the early 1970’s I have been an avid devoted Washington “Redskin” fan. Why, you might ask? It’s a simple answer for me. We lived in northern Virginia at the time, I was getting to the age where I understood the game and the Redskin’s was the local team and their games was shown in that area on TV the most. It also helped that my mother was passionate about the Redskins, and well for me a young teenage girl it also meant I had to like the team colors, and their logo on their helmets. To me it’s all fun and games to celebrate the Championship years, and still cheer and hope for improvement during the losing years. Yet, in the scheme of life there are also important issues I always remind myself of, like it’s only a game and nothing more. I realize for the team owners, players, and the many others who make an income for running their individual teams, it more than a game, it is the means to which they provide for their families. Yet, as I watch both sides of this Washington Redskins name controversy, I am amazed that it’s taken on such importance. The fact that the US President and Senators all feel it to be an important enough issue to take their time, at our tax payer’s expense to deal with this issue is absurd. They have set aside the more pressing issues like our economy, our education system, our VA problems, and many other issues that really do have an effect on the kind of quality of life we will have. For them to put the focus on and take up our legal court room times to force the owner to have to change the team name that has been the team name since February 13, 1937 to me is embarrassing for them…
Have we become a people who if we can find anything offensive about anything, we can take up tax payer funded and time to go to court to force private citizens and force them to change the name of their private business? The family heritage I am blessed to have that comes from my forefathers who were some that founded our country had a constitution that gives ALL our citizens freedom that are not offered in many other countries. I know that for my 6th great-grandfather, whose whole family died fighting for freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and him coming to America was a dream that came out of much sacrifice. Our constitution was set up to protect us as individual citizens from a government taking over every part of our personal life. So how come we as individual citizens are allowing our government to spend precious time and our funds on matter as unimportant as the name of a private professional football team? Yet at the same time, we do not find those same government officials held personally accountable when they so openly and repeatedly fail to do the very jobs they were elected to do? Just to name a few examples I can think off the top of my head, ATF gunwalking scandal, 2012 Benghazi cover up, stimulus package, VA problems, the IRS targeting, the NSA tapping, and the list goes on and on. It’s disheartening to me to think what important issues are being neglected as we make a name of a football team our main media attention.
I listen, read and research both side of this silly Washington Redskins name controversy. Here are the facts as I know them. The team originated as the Boston Braves, based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1932. At the time the team played in Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. The following year the club moved to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, whereupon owners changed the team’s name to the Boston Redskins. In newspaper articles it is said “the name of the team had nothing to do with American Indians, but rather a marketing plan to have the town’s baseball and football teams have the same name. Once the team moved their playing field they chose a name as close to the baseball Red Sox name as they could and still be able to save money and not have to come up with a new team logo. Nothing was meant to be offensive, just a name to fit in with the Marketing of the town they were playing at. So, 80 years later some now find the Redskin name offensive to our Native Americans even in light of the facts what the real reason for the team name was, or the facts of the last 80 years of league history. A few now in our strong-arm government feel they have the legal right to bully and force their will on a private citizen and the Redskins culture that has developed over the last 80 plus years. Are we to forget the billions of dollars of fan memorabilia that has been sold over the last 80 years? Are we to forget the millions of fans who come from several family generations of the “Redskin Nation” that we are proud of? Once we allow our government to force one private business to change to the will of a small percentage, will government stop there, or have we now opened the door to allowing the government to go after anyone or anything that is found to be offensive? Is this not how the Nazi’s starting to gain their power hold on their country? Check your history books friends, are we going to sit by as it is repeating itself.
From my youth I have been told to take pride in my family name. To learn from those forefathers who carried that name, and always carry on a sense of honor to those who will come after me. I do feel how and why a name that was started does matter over time. More importantly it is how the legacy grows on with each generation. For some of us, our family names will change, like females who will marry and take on the name of their husbands, yet we can all live in a way that will honor all the names we will have in our life time.
A name is only a name, until you place a legacy of meaning, history and honor with it, then it becomes a heritage to protect and carry on. I am proud of the family history I have been able to research and learn about so far. I am sure it’s a pride that will grow within me and my family as I research and learn more about my other family members. This includes those that I know nothing about at this time, but hope to one day. I feel I am part of the Redskin nation and Family since the early 1970’s. I would prefer that our ever-increasing in power government stay out of the private business of our private citizens life’s… As a nation we must allow the Redskin Legacy of the last 80 years to continue on, for all the reasons that I wrote above. Not just the future of the Redskins and their name is all that is reflected here, but also the direction that our country is headed in… I hope we can one day be at a place in time where everyone can stop being offended by our differences and somehow just allow life to be about more than just a name, but rather about all the history and legacy that has developed into the whole package that comes with the name.

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