Posted by: rbbadger | October 11, 2009

Ellsworth-Beast Major, Ellsworth-Beast Minor…

Russell Ash, a British author, published in England a book of funny names he had found borne by real people.  There was a boy named Christmas Day (born December 25, 1762), another named Christmas Holiday (married in 1864), and a girl named Turtledove Hancock (married in 1795).  There was even someone named Minty Badger.  He had found these names on census records, church records, birth registries, marriage registries, and so forth. 

The brilliant British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson once did a sketch where he was a schoolmaster calling roll.  All of the students had these unusual names such as Ellsworth-Beast Major, Ellsworth-Beast Minor, Haemoglobin, Nancyboy-Potter, Plectrum, Witcheley-Wicket, and others. 

You can read more funny names borne by unfortunate Britons by clicking here.  If you care to see Rowan Atkinson’s sketch, you can do so by following this link.

My own family name is Badger.  I’ve heard the comment, “don’t Badger me” a million times by now.  But all in all, it’s not a bad family name.  If the worst I get is “don’t Badger me”, that is all to the better.  It could be far worse, such as with the case of the unfortunate bearer of this surname.  That’s right.  H.J. Ballhatchet.

Russell Ash also has a website where you can see some of his lists of silly names.  Among the documented oddities is the marriage of Nicholas Bone and Priscilla Skin in 1636, the marriage of John Mutton to Ann Veale in 1791, and others such as Emily Grace Pyne Coffin.  You can waste a lot of time here.



  1. Some Korean Americans have funny last names in English, while they do not sound funny in Korean.

    My uncle living in LA has last name, ‘어'(Uh). Other Korean Americans use ‘엄'(Um) as their family name. Also, some have ‘방'(Bang).

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