Tag Archives: family history

What’s In a Family Name?

Family names are interesting. In many cultures, they tell a story about your family history. In Japan, they often refer to where your family comes from, rather than a job. In England, it tells about your ancestor’s job. But what about other countries?

If I look at my family name, I can tell that someone in my family’s history was an archer. Someone used a bow and arrow. I don’t know when it happened, but that’s where the name originates from.

So, if you’re willing to disclose your family name, what country is it from, and what’s the story behind it? Let’s discuss this in the comments below.

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Story Foundations

Like every house needs a strong foundation, so does a story.

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But not like this foundation. This one isn’t finished.

When I have an idea, it begins to form a basis or a foundation for a story.  That foundation can be just one aspect of the story.  While a house should have concrete as a foundation, a story can be more varied.

My story ideas come from many different things.  For example, Ariadne started out with the setting.  I created the world first, then it started to become filled with stories and people. My most recent idea for the solar system short stories was founded on the concept.  The character and story came after.

A few months ago, I did an online writing course, and one of our tasks was to write a very short story based on a person in a picture.  I wrote a story about a young enlisted man in a space-based military who approaches a woman in a cafe who turns out to be his commanding officer out of uniform.  This actually got me thinking about a bigger story idea.

How do your story ideas form?  What’s the foundation?

Where Are You From?

Have you ever been asked, “Where are you from?”  Living in Japan, I get asked that often, which is fine.  Japan is a pretty homogeneous country and foreigners are often asked where they’re from.  Of course, I tell them I’m from Canada.

But what if you’re in your own country and you’re asked what country you’re from?  Has that ever happened to you?  This video went viral some time ago, but I think it’s quite valid for this topic.

Of course, this is set in the US, and it seems kind of hypocritical that the man asks her where she’s really from, while he answers that he’s just a regular American.  She’s just as American as he is.

Looking at my genealogy, I’m pretty mixed.  I’m not native Canadian.  I’ve talked a bit about genealogy before, but I’ll mention a bit about my own family history.  On my mother’s side, I’m Norwegian and German.  On my father’s side, I’m English, Irish, and Scottish.  My wife is Japanese, so my daughter is Japanese, Norwegian, German, English, Irish, and Scottish.  Quite the mix.  But if my daughter is asked where’s she’s from by a Japanese person, I’m sure they’ll show a lot of confusion when she answers that she’s from Japan.  How can a brown-haired, fair-skinned little girl be Japanese?  She was born in Japan, she has Japanese citizenship, and she speaks Japanese (well, not very good yet.  She’s only 2).  This just does not compute for many people in Japan.  They assume she’s a foreigner even though she is born and raised in Japan with Japanese citizenship.  I also can’t wait until they tell her that her Japanese is very good.  Of course it is, dumbass.  You were just told she’s Japanese.

So, when we’re in Canada, since the country is quite multicultural, she may or may not get that question.  She can, of course, say she’s from Japan, which is true.  But she may get the “your English is so good” comment.  Having a Canadian father kind of makes that happen.

So, I have a question for you.  I’m not asking where you’re from.  I’m interested in family history.  So, what’s your ancestry?  Which countries make up your ancestry?