There are some surnames in the world which really need to be dropped or changed. (I suspect Mick Jagger’s family were once Daggers…)
Here are some of the worst offenders. See if you agree.
Sidebottom. Or anything-bottom. No excuses, no exceptions. If your name is something-bottom, or bottom-something, change it. It’s easy to do – you just need to see an official in town and sign a bunch of documents to register another surname. And bingo, no more Mr Something-Bottom. Just knock the -bottom off if you like. John Higginbottom or Jane Sidebottom are just about OK as bottomless John Higgin and Jane Side.
Smellie. As above. Got to get it changed.
Pigg. I once lived in the Scottish Borders, a rural area of southern Scotland. Lots of family names round there were derived from farming occupations or countryside phenomena. There were, oh I can’t remember now, but Ducks and Drakes, Swans and Birds, Foxes and Badgers and so on. What I do recall clearly is that were quite a few Piggs, evidently one-time pig farmers or pig dealers. There was a door in our local town with the homeowner’s name proudly displayed over the letter-box. A PIGG. Come on, be serious – find an ancestor who caught Pike for a living and change your name.
Horniman. Harriet Horniman. Henry Horniman. Is it worse for a woman or a man? Hard to say.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The real surname of the British Royal family. Terribly self-regarding to wear a surname which is a badge of European royal family mergers. They should change it. Oh wait, they already did. During World War One. But only because they wanted to deflect attention from the fact they were German when their British subjects were fighting, er, the Germans. Looking around they decided to pinch ye olde Englishe name of one of their castles, Windsor.
Bucket. There is a glamorous French film star called Carole Bouquet. She has an ice-queen image and has frequently played cool, beautifully manicured women in moody French films where nothing much happens but everyone sits around in cafés looking moody and smoking. I think I’m right in saying she was at one time married to French film icon, the outstandingly talented and watchable Gerard Depardieu (Green Card. Andie McDowell.) I wonder if Gerard would ever have asked her out if her name had been Carole Bucket. Or if the casting directors would ever have oicked her to play fastidious French-ice queens. (‘What about thisone?’ ‘Ooh, yes. Gorgeous. What’s her name?’ ‘Carole Bucket.’ ‘Umm, well perhaps not then’.)
I once knew of a British bloke called Somebody Bucket (not fair to give his full name) and he changed his name to Somebody Bouquet. Good move!
Hitler. Doesn’t work well even with girly names like Rosemary or Jennifer. But is undeniably at its worst in conjunction with Adolf. (Hitler does have descendants. They live in America. Two of his great-nephews are/were called Howard Hitler and Brian Hitler. Really.)