I have connected with several members of my mother’s family over the past four years, both in the US and in Germany. The family name is Bartels, which is a patronymic name that is short for Bartholomew in German. My Grandfather Bartels and his two brothers and four sisters all settled in Minnesota in Rock and Pipestone counties in the early years of the 20th century. They all lived within 20 miles of one another.
The name is properly pronounced BARtels, with the emphasis on the first syllable. When my grandmother married my grandfather, she changed the pronunciation to BarTELS, which she considered more posh. She was a city girl from Hamburg and considered my grandfather’s family too rustic for words. It only served to distance her from the family, and caused some hard feelings. After all, they were all in the same boat and were all starting over in a new country. It didn’t much matter what you might have had over there, since now you were over here with not much. Grandma considered herself superior because she spoke formal German, not Plattdeutsch.
We have the same issue here with a German-Hungarian family with the last name of Lefor. It is rightly pronounced Lefor, (like leper). The more hoighty toighty members of the clan pronounce it LeFOR, as though they are French. They all live in the same county, and it is quite amusing.
I like the words hoighty toighty. I don’t know its derivation, but it sure captures a concept.
Who do you know who is hoighty toighty? Why do you think they do that? What makes you think well of a person?