A Poppy by any other name

This morning, I woke to find I had a notification saying I had been linked to on this guy’s blog. He, despite having a masters degree in history, was lamenting the idea of people tracking their family history. His main gripe was discovering the origin of names. He even included some of my personal information, because he’s a thoughtless buffoon. So, now that it’s out there for his 3 readers to see, yes, my surname is Poppy. For a long time, even Google, that bastion of knowledge, didn’t know its origin usually throwing up the answer ‘it has been lost to obscurity’.

More recently websites have started to suggest that Poppy is perhaps a nickname for the German forename Bodebert. I agree with Lovatt in regard to the fact that Bodebert is a stupid name. This could be true; however, as the Poppy house can be traced back to East Anglia; an area that was rife with invasion from Germanic tribes. Oddly enough, the first recorded instance of the name was in Yorkshire.

Anyway, the most likely origin of the name is not as exciting. It doesn’t involve Saxon invasions and the anglicisation of Germanic forenames. It’s unlikely that we were Lords of the Manor somewhere in Yorkshire. To quite Ancestry “from Middle English popy ‘poppy’, possibly applied as a nickname for someone with bright red hair or a ruddy complexion.” Chances are some berk had a red face and thus the Poppy lineage was born.

As for Lovatt, the origin is far simpler. The author thought it sounded good. That’s right, he’s a fraud.

Anyway, he brings up the fact that I have no German Jewish ancestry. On the German front, that may well be true, but I certainly have Jewish ancestry, though the only remnant of that is a family cheesecake recipe, which we crudely refer to as ‘Jewish cheesecake’. On reflection, I think it’s rather presumptuous to ascribe religion to a cheesecake. Not only that, it’s quite offensive that we often consume this ‘Jewish’ cheesecake immediately after consuming lots of meat (not waiting the requisite three hours), even worse, these buffets usually include pork sausages. Apologies great-grandma.

Anyway, he does bring up my tangential links to some Lowland Scottish clan. My maternal grandmother loves bringing this up and has registered me, my brother and my sister as fully-fledged members of Clan Moffat. The clan can be accurately described as “leaderless and obscure from the mid-16th century until 1983.” Things only changed in 1983 because someone bothered to research them. As a member of this clan I should be able to vote in any Scottish independence referendums (don’t worry Scotland, I’ll vote to leave and then I’ll live with you in our socialist paradise). True to our, motto “Spero Meliora” – I aspire to greater things, I do aspire to greater things. I’ll concede it’s not the best clan motto, sounding as it does like ‘we are shit’. I’ll be sure to bring this up at the next clan meeting in between the haggis course and the heroin desert. Hah! Racism.

Anyway, that’ll do for today. I know – it wasn’t funny, informative or even remotely entertaining. I’ll try better next time. Spero Meliora.


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