Names : Last names

Updated on May 22, 2019

Last Names

Some Last Names originally meant “son of”.

  • Johnson (son of John)
  • MacDonald (son of Donald)
  • McGee (son of Gee)
  • O’Neal (son of Neal)
  • bin Laden (son of Laden)
  • Fitzgerald (son of Gerald)

There are a few exceptions. Some Last Names mean “father of”, “mother of” and “server/servant of”.

Some Last Names originally referred to work/occupation.

  • Carpenter
  • Thatcher
  • Smith
  • Goldsmith
  • Rider

Names of Popes

Popes usually have a single name often followed by a discriminator.

  • Pius
  • John
  • Paul

Two Popes chose to have two words in their names.

  • John Paul I (passed away early in his reign)
  • John Paul II (first non-Italian Pope for the past few centuries)

Names signifying place of birth

Two siblings have their place of birth in their names.

  • Dr. Khin Maung Lin (born in Nattalin), my SPHS classmate
  • Khin Maung Pun (born in Papun), one year junior at RIT

Names based on Astrology and Numerology

  • Names are studied by astrologers, and numerologists.
  • One numerologist mentions the effect (good or bad) of changing names.
  • He attributed the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte to his name change : from the Italian sounding Corsican last name to comply with the French spelling. Napoleon was the first Corsican to attend the French Military school and rise to be the Emperor of France.

Burmese/Myanmar names

There is no unique way of spelling Burmese/Myanmar names in English text.

The following are variants of the same Burmese/Myanmar name (or part of name)

  • Tun, Toon, Htun, Htoon
  • Min, Minn
  • Thein, Thane
  • Kyaw, Gyaw

Prefix and Suffix of names

Names can have prefixes and suffixes. Sometimes, it is not clear if a word is a prefix or part of the name. For example, Thura Tin Maung Aye (BAF) has a “Thura” award. Aung San Thuriya Hla Thaung is a school honoring the recipient of the highest military award. Thura Thant Zin (son of Bohmu Thant Zin) is an engineer and a Past President of BASES.

The suffixes for monks include

  • abhivamsa (e.g. U Silanandabhivamsa) for successfully completing the famous monk examination in Mandalay before turning 27
  • [a]lankara for outstanding novices

Name Changes

Some Burmese/Myanmar names get “changed” unintentionally in the USA.

  • The middle name is not mentioned by non-Burmese colleagues. Saya U Htin Paw (EE58) aka Maung Htin Paw became “Maung Paw”. Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) became known as “Khin Zaw”. Tin Maung Win (C86) became known as “Tin Win”.
  • Some passports had “Maung”. Several Burmese ended up with “Maung” as their last name. e.g. Cho Oo Maung, San Lin Maung.
  • A few use hyphenated names, e.g. Maung Tin-Wa.
  • Several monks have to tell immigration that U, Ashin and Venerable are valid interchangeable prefixes for monks.
  • Some modified the names so that they can be pronounced easily by non-Burmese. e.g. Kai (for Khine), Kin (for Khin), Thane (for Thein)

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