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#20896 03/17/01 11:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2
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stranger
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2
Well, this forum seems to have digressed a bit, but I really enjoyed reading through it so I thought I'd share some of my name stories.
My full name is Katharina Gabriele Gerda Petersen, but I usually sign as Katharina G. Petersen (why use two middle initials if they are the same . . .) The name is German, but as I live in England my last name is never spelt correctly - I will always get PetersOn. People have previously not been able to find me on computer lists (e.g. at the travel agents) because they had misspelt my surname. I try telling them that it's "Petersen, with all e's", but that usually confuses them to the extent that they make me spell it all out.
As for my first name, I have given up on it - I am just Kat to everyone. (And I'm sure that most of the people I have met since I've begun introducing myself as Kat will not know what my real name is.) If I have to use Katharina, people are always confused by the "th", as it is just pronounced as "t" (that's because it is German). I tend to get Katerina, which I really dislike (even worse is Katrina).
I very very rarely use Gerda, although I use Gabriele. Both of these names are my respective grandmothers', which is something of a tradition in our family. One of them was unfortunate to end up with the name Gerda Ida Minna Krumm, where all first names are considered very old-fashioned, and the surname translates into English as "bent".
My father's first name is Nikolaus, which I am told results from my grandfather originally wanting to call him Klaus but this was not considered a proper name in such a posh family, so they figured they could call him that after he was born. It never happened - he has always been Niko, and never Klaus.
My aunt, from the same side of the family, is Barbara (which is also my sister's middle name, her first name is Johanna after my uncle Johannes (at least I got one original name!)). She called herself Baba for lack of pronounciation, until my father returned from his first Latin class at school and disallowed any words that did not end in -us, so her name got changed into Bobus and has remained this ever since.
One more little story about Katharina . . . I was born in France and hence named with a supposedly original name, but little did my mother know that Katharina had been the most popular name in Germany for the previous four years or so and remained at that position for another couple of years. We only found out when we returned to Germany and there were 4 other girls in my class in primary school called that . . .
Well, quite enough random information for tonight.
Katharina (meaning "pure" in Greek - St Katharina is patron saint for teachers, students, philosophers and other such fabulous things)


#20897 03/18/01 02:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
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old hand
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Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
The name is German, but as I live in England my last name is never spelt correctly - I will always
get PetersOn. People have previously not been able to find me on computer lists (e.g. at the travel agents) because they had
misspelt my surname. I try telling them that it's "Petersen, with all e's", but that usually confuses them to the extent that
they make me spell it all out.


I am surprised that you have such trouble! Here in Portland, Oregon, USA, there are 1 1/2 pages of Petersens, and 3 pages of Petersons in the phone directory. Thus, your spelling, while half as common, is far from rare. I had been told that the "en" version was Norwegian in origin, whereas the "on" version was Swedish. Am I misinformed?


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