Tuesday, May 12, 2009

German court upholds ban on lengthy last names

Today's San Diego Union-Tribune has an interesting article titled "German high court upholds ban on lengthy last names" by the New York Times News Service. Key graphs include:

Germany takes a highly regimented approach to naming. Children's names must be approved by local authorities, and there is a reference work, the “International Handbook of Forenames,” to guide them.

Juergen Udolph, a University of Leipzig professor and head of the information center there that provides certificates of approval for names that have not yet made the official list, said that “the state has a responsibility to protect people from idiotic forenames.”

The most notable case that tested the law was:

The Constitutional Court ruled in 2004 to limit the number of forenames a child could have, capping at five the number a mother could give her son – to whom she had attempted to bequeath the 12-part “Chenekwahow Tecumseh Migiskau Kioma Ernesto Inti Prithibi Pathar Chajara Majim Henriko Alessandro” – to protect the child.

Interesting, isn't it?

Is this the reason that this fellow emigrated from Germany (according to this site)?

(First and "middle" names)
Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvim John Kenneth Loyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor Willian Xerxes Yancy Zeus
(Last name)Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftschafer-swesenchafewarenwholgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangereifen-duchihrraubgiriigfeindewelchevorralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieer-scheinenbanderersteerdeemmeshedrraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprung-vonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraumaufdersuchenach-diesternwelshegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinder-neurassevanverstandigmenshlichkeittkonntevortpflanzenundsicherfreunan-lebenslamdlichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvonander-erintlligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum

I have two thoughts about the long name above:

* Who would name their child something like that? The "Senior" implies that there is a child named that also.

* How did the kid ever remember all of it? Especially "Irvim" and "Yancy?"

I wonder if this is a real name? It is not on the US Passport 1795-1925 files on Ancestry.com.


Kiril The Mad Macedonian said...


As a person with a long last name that has given Americans fits since the day, in 1951, when some paper pusher at a refugee camp in Italy Americanized Kundurdziev to Kundurazieff (No doubt for dear Ol' Dad's own good, I'm sure!), I love this story. ;-D

Anyone complain about my name from now on I just might encourage them to look at this guys name, and count their lucky starts they don't have to hassle with it. ;-D


Lirik Ffeizarudnuk

Family Researcher & Family Writer, Poet, and Comedian ;-D

Anonymous said...

Geez...my brother and sister-in-law just had trouble coming up with one first and one middle name (and it was only their second son)!


VacaGrammy said...

Interesting...... that the first and middle names are in american alphabetical order!!!