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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:||I would add that surname spelling in this era was extremely variable in families in this era and it was very common in the U.S. to change a spelling to one that seemed easier for English speakers to understand. My German family changed the spelling of its name from "Eisle" to "Eisley" post immigration to the U.S. to make clear how to pronounce the final syllable. I think that is what is happening here. It is definitely not Welshification.|
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|