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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Irish Welsh surname|
|Question:||Hello, I am doing some personal genealogy research so and around 1850 after my family moved to Kentucky from Virginia the Surname changed from Gallahue which I understand is Anglicized from an Irish name of Ó GALLCHÚ to Gollihugh. This spelling change seemed to happen after the death of an ancestor. And I have found some information from reliable sources that indicate that his Wife and Mother of his children was the daughter of welsh immigrants. From what I understand the words hue and Hugh although being pronounced the same, hue is derived from old English and Hugh from welsh. So I guess my question here is would you consider Gollihugh to be a welsh respelling of the name Gallahue?|
|Reply:||No, I don't think that's right. For a start, "Hugh" is not a Welsh name; it derives from Norman French. (The name occurs among the Welsh, but not spelled that way; the Welsh spelling is Huw.) Also, it seems to me that Gallahue > Gollihugh is much more likely to represent a change brought about by an English-speaking American than anything else. American English "o" represents a sound which in British English and in Continental languages would be written with an "a", so for instance an American saying "cod" sounds like an Englishman saying "card". I can't think that the A > O respelling would have been likely anywhere other than America, and writing the sound of "hue" as "hugh" would only make sense to an English-speaker. Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|