The thing about Funny Surnames

When one of my blogging friends, Caroline Makepeace, from yTravelblog mentioned funny surnames especially how some people often find it difficult to spell her surname correctly, she made me laugh.

She said she has to reply to them: “It’s Makepeace, as in – Not War – one word.”

Which got me thinking about my name. How often people will say:

“Did you say Gastro?”

“No, Castro.”

“Oh, Castrol.”

“No Castro.”

“Oh not like the engine oil then?”

“No – Castro – with a C, as in Fidel.”

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Funny Surnames

Funny Surnames and their spellings.

Surnames are funny aren’t they? Some are easy to pronounce and spell, like Smith and Jones or Farmer perhaps. But others. Well!

How about Hickinbottom or Fancypants or Bendover?

Surnames are varied and funny or difficult to spell or just plain weird. So I decided to ask some Lifestyle Fifty readers if they had any troubles with their surnames.

Here (with permissions) is what they said. Thanks Carol, Sonia, Alison and Annabel.


“One time a friend organised free entry to an Oktoberfest in London for us. He said he’d leave our name at the door.

So my husband explained this to the doorman and gave his name – Rich Candy – but no such name was to be found on the doorman’s list.

“Have another look!” We said.

All our friends were waiting for us inside and we were keen for a beer.

“The name’s Candy it should be on the list!”

So he had another look then looked a bit confused before asking:”Mr and Mrs Ghandi?”

My husband and I looked at each other then looked back at the doorman.

“Yes,” Rich said. “That’s us!”

Then the doorman stepped aside and let us in.”

Annabel Candy writes wonderful stories about life and travel at Get in the Hot Spot .Everynow and then we meet up in real life too 🙂

 Annabel Candy and Jo Castro


“My married surname is Bellhouse- I’ve been referred to as Val House in a phone call, but the best  (or worst!) was Bellhound.

Oh apart from the inane “ring ding ding” remarks.

These days I explain it as Bell- what you ring – and House- where you live. That usually straightens it out!”


“Our last name is. Mihlfeld – you cannot believe how people butcher the spelling and pronunciation.

Since I used to be an elementary school teacher,  I taught the kids how to say my name by drawing a stick figure on a hill and show it falling down. I told them the stick figure’s name was “Mel” and he fell down the hill ‘ – so our name is “Mel-feld”.

Still do it with adults (just without the drawing).”

Hop Hing

“My surname is Hop Hing, my husband is of Chinese descent.

You can just imagine, there being no hyphen, how sometimes people think Hop is my middle name.

We have been called Hip Hop, Hip Hong … the list goes on and on!

My husband’s ID came back with his surname changed to Hip Hop, he had to pay to get it fixed! Can you believe it?”

What’s your surname?

Do you have a funny tale to tell? Would love to hear your story in the comments section 🙂

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Showing 11 comments
  • Karen

    Hi Jo,

    Our surname, Le Roux, can cause a lot of confusion too. People often think Le is my middle name and they assume there was a typo so they add an extra E . It is also often pronounced Le Rocks, but the X is silent . I am a year 1 teacher and when I introduce myself as Karen Le Roux at least one child will call me Ms Kangaroo!!

    • Johanna

      That is funny and charming and gorgeous! Ms Kangaroo indeed! I can imagine the challenges you have with people trying to spell Le Roux 😉 Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

  • Reply

    LOL my mum could never manage to say my married surname correctly – actually a lot of people say these: Caramello, Calamari, Cam-illery. It’s actually pronounced “camel-airy”.

    • Johanna

      Oh that’s funny Janet – some of the time I wonder what goes on in people’s minds though! Calamari? Oh Lol!

  • ingridrick
  • seizetheday20

    Ours is a bit confusing for most people. It’s Guinery-Smith. The U in Guinery is silent, so it’s pronouced Ginery. Noone seems to be able to spell it or pronounce it. For unofficial things, like restaurant bookings, I just use Smith… but have even been asked to spell it too! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Johanna

      Hello Lyndall, yes in my mind I’ve always thought of you as “Gwinnery Smith” – just shows how wrong you can be and Ginery sounds just right. Oh dear having to spell Smith, that’s a bit too much!!

  • Kathy Marris

    Hi Jo, your website makeover looks fabulous. Although my surname isn’t particularly funny it often gets misspelt as Harris or Morris and sometimes people put an f on the end and write it as Marrif. It’s seems ridiculous that such a simple surname can be misspelt!

    • Johanna

      Thanks Kathy 🙂 Ha! You would think that Marris is pretty difficult to get very wrong but Marrif! What do people really think – or do they just not think!

  • Ingrid

    Hi Jo
    That is funny – a hoot . I always find names are fascinating … Ours (Rickersey) always seems to bring ‘how do you spell that’ looks and when you spell it people usually say ‘oh it’s just like it sounds’ Funny that!
    Everyone usually wants to add an l or a b in there, making it Rickersley or Rickersbey!
    But I think the best was probably Mr Rick Ersey!

    • Johanna

      Oh LOL Ingrid! Mr Rick Ersey – that’s hilarious! Haha – you made me laugh outlaud tonight 🙂

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