Where did "Tolkien" come from

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Postby Vercelestarrioler » Mon Jun 18, 2001 3:49 am

I mean, That Surname 'Tolkien' which descent is it?<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Lord V.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Jun 18, 2001 10:28 am

"Tolkien" is a combination of two German words meaning "rash, hasty" and "courageous." JRRT gave "Rashbold" as its English equivalent.<BR><BR>IIRC the ancestor with that name came to England from Germany in the 18th century. JRRT always played down the German element in his ancestry. He preferred to identify with his mother's family, the Suffields, who were natives of the West Midlands region of England.<BR><BR>The subject is discussed several times in Tolkien's published Letters. I always tell everyone interested in Tolkien that that should be the very first book you read after you finish with LotR etc. It is packed full of fascinating information.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Mon Jun 18, 2001 10:40 am

A closer equivilant, etymologically, would be "Dull-keen." One of the recent German newspaper articles that TORN scanned about the films, had a section header that used the modern German compound to play on the name. <BR><BR>In the <i>Letters</i>, does he ever mention where in Germany his ancestors came from? I mean, there was no political state called Germany in the 18th C. My own ancestors came from many parts of Germany, but my surname lineage came from Nassau-Dillenberg in 1753.
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Postby Eluchil » Mon Jun 18, 2001 6:11 pm

The only story of the family's origin, of which I am aware, is the legend recorded by Humphrey Carpenter, which he ascribes to JRRT's Aunt Grace. <BR><BR>"She alleged that the family name had originally been 'von Hohenzollern', for they had eminated from the Hohenzollern district of the Holy Roman Empire. A certain George von Hohenzollern had, she said fought on the side of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria at the Seige of Vienna in 1529. He had shown great daring in leading an unofficial raid against the Turks and capturing the Sultan's standard. This (said Aunt Grace) was why he was given the name <i>Tollkün</i>, 'follhardy', and the name stuck."<BR><BR>Checking Letter's Tolkien describes the name as "from Saxony". <BR><BR>Though he once wrote a German publisher that he regarded his German name with pride, a more typical expression of his sentiments can be found in Letter (44) "Though a Tolkien by name, I am a Suffield by tastes, talents, and upbringing, and any corner of that county [Wostershire] (however fair or squalid) is in an indefinable way 'home' to me as no other part of the world is."
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Postby Khorazir » Tue Jun 19, 2001 1:37 am

Nassau-Dillenburg, Almacundo/*Auirandos? That's where I'm coming from (even though nowadays the dukedom doesn't exist anymore, of course). Interesting.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Tue Jun 19, 2001 3:56 pm

Khorazir--Yeah, my family originated in StraB-Eberbach, now part of Dietzhoelztal. There are still Aurands there. In fact, the Burgermeister is Stephen Aurand (SDP). <BR><BR>Where exactly are you from?<BR><BR>I did a search at Infoseek and found that there are 250+ Tollkuehns with a phone listing in Germany. One day, when I have time, I'll go through them all to get a more exact idea of the geographic spread of the name. It's a handy method for the genealogically inclined to limit the places for research. Luckily, despite modern mobility, most surnames tend to keep close to their places of origin.<BR><BR>Has anybody ever done a real genealogical investigation into JRRT? It seems his enthusiasts have looked into just about everything else about him. And we have his example in the Appendices to inspire us. Are there any Suffield kin who've been identified? If I was in England or Germany it's a project I'd take up in a second!
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Wed Jun 20, 2001 4:43 pm

Tolkien in OE: *Dylce'ne; in ON: *Dyljakoenn; in Common Germanic: *Duljoko:njaz! (: is used instead of a macron)
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Postby Vercelestarrioler » Thu Jun 21, 2001 1:37 am

So he's originally German!!!<BR><BR>Is that it?<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Lord V
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:34 am

The Tolkien side of his family is Saxon (that is, from Saxony). Although the family had been in the UK for three/four generations (arrived in 18th C.--JRRT born in late 19th). The distinction between calling the family German or Saxon is not trivial. At the time of emigration there was no unified Germany. Even today Germans(like many Europeans) identify as much if not more with their regional affiliations than their national ones. Galicians, Lombards, Normans, Swabians, Frisian, Walloons, Yorkshirefolk, etc., all feel a great sense of identity, pride and distinction that make US regionalisms of Yankee or Cajun pale in comparison.<BR><BR>A slight correction about the "etymological" definition of Tolkien. "Dull" was borrowed into ME from MHG. OE <i>dyl</i> > dill, a word used in northern English dialect to mean "foolish". So the "etymological" defintion should be *Dillkeen.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Thu Jun 21, 2001 10:25 am

Aurand, the Prof actually translated his name into OE, & signed it to the OE poem he wrote for W.H. Auden. (Which was published in the literary magazine of my alma mater, and I was a student of the editor, who would have corresponded with JRRT, so that's my one degree of separation for what it's worth.)<BR><BR>Anyway, I believe his version was Rognvald Hraedhmoding. ("Rath" IIRC survived in dialect and appears in OED. ModE "rash" is from a different root.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Thu Jun 21, 2001 10:52 am

roaccarsson--As I emphasized, what I was trying is an etymological equivalent, not strictly speaking, a translation. Looks like he used a Norse version of Ronald. At the least, OE would have used -wald, as in Oswald.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Fri Jun 22, 2001 9:40 am

I'm having some problems getting beyond the first page of the Infospace listings of Tollkuehns, but I went to another directory and got some basic numbers--will look for geographical patterns another time.<BR><BR>There are 260 Tolkuehns, 33 Tollkiens, 21 Tolkiens, 17 Tolkiehns, and 13 Tollkiehns listed in the German phone directory. My impression is that many are in Westfalen and Berlin.<BR><BR>I found an e-mail address for a Tollkuehn yesterday and sent him a message. Haven't heard anything yet.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Sat Jun 23, 2001 10:37 am

Found this at the Calyamira (?-I think that's wrong) site. There's not quite enough width here to print out everything properly, but I'm sure everyone out there has the wit to put it together right.:<BR><BR>The Family Tree<BR> TOLKIEHNS (TOLLKÜHN) OF SAXONY SUFFIELDS of EVESHAM<BR> | |<BR> Tolkiehns of London John Suffield<BR> (later 'Tolkien') (Birmingham draper)<BR> | 1802-1891<BR> John Benjamin Tolkien |<BR> 1807-1896 John Suffield<BR>(piano manufacturer and music-seller, 1833-1930<BR> trading in Birmingham) (Birmingham draper, afterwards commercial traveller)<BR> =Mary Jane Stow =Emily Sparrow<BR> +------------|-------+ |<BR> | | +-------------+-----------+------------+----------------+<BR> | 3 daughters 2 sons Edith Mary ("May") | Emily Jane ('Aunt Jane') William<BR> | and 4 sons 1865-1936 | 1872-1963 1874-1904 <BR> | = Walter Incledon | = Edwin Neave (Cashier)<BR> | | | 1872-1909 = Beatrice Bartlett<BR> +-----------------------+ +---------+ | (insurance agent) ('Auntie Bea')<BR> | Marjorie Mary |<BR> | 1891-1973 1875-1940 |<BR> | |<BR> | +----------------+<BR> | 1891 |<BR> Arthur Reuel Tolkien = Mabel Suffield<BR> 1857-1896 | 1870-1904<BR> (bank manager) |<BR> +------------------+----------------+<BR> John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien<BR> 1892-1971 1894-1976<BR> = Edith Bratt = Magdalen Mathews<BR> 1889-1971 |<BR> | |<BR> +----------+----------+----------+ 3 sons<BR> John Michael Christopher Priscilla<BR>b.1917 1920-1984 b.1924 b.1929<BR><BR>
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Sat Jun 23, 2001 10:39 am

Ugh!! It looks even worse than it did in the message-box! Oh, well!
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Postby Eluchil » Sat Jun 23, 2001 1:02 pm

That looks to be a version of the "Simplified genalogical table of the ancestaey of J.R.R. Tolkien" from the Carpenter Biography. So if you have trouble following it because of the limits of the forum's presentation you should try and check it out there.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Mon Jun 25, 2001 6:41 am

Here's the link:<BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.fortunecity.com/athena/emerald/236/biog.html">http://www.fortunecity.com/athena/emerald/236/biog.html</a><BR><BR>I finally got around to looking at the Tollkuehn phone listings for Germany. The largest number of listings are found in two places: Berlin and the Ruhr industrial centers. But you can discount that fact, since capital cities and job-magnets generally skew such results. However, in my experience, you can usually find a small town or village and the surrounding area with a remarkable concentration of the surname. Not in the case of Tollkuehn. Almost all the major concentrations are in urban areas. If you look in the area of the imperial circle of Saxony there are concentrations in Bremen and Uelzen. The best candidate for a small town of origin is Marl. But, if I had to make a conclusion based on this evidence for the origin of the Tollkuehn family, I would say that I'd look at Hamburg (Burger King would be delighted to find that Tolkien's ancestors were Hamburgers!). At the very least, this is where I would begin my search, lacking other evidence, like the immigration record from the 18th C., giving a place of origin (not common in that era). Finding the immigration record would still be useful, for the port of departure would likely be given and records there might be found. I'd search for naturalization records as well.
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Postby Vercelestarrioler » Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:15 am

Thanx alot A/A!!!!!<BR><BR>Thats really a lot of work!!(Although its impossible to identify and understand.)<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Lord V.
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Wed Jun 27, 2001 9:08 am

Vercelestarriole--Tell me what's giving you problems and I'll try to clarify.
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Postby Vercelestarrioler » Wed Jun 27, 2001 12:48 pm

No, its just your reply with the Family Tree thats confused me........Its ok now, I've copied it from the Website.......<BR><BR><BR><BR>Thanx anyway. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Lord V
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Thu Jun 28, 2001 12:27 pm

Yesterday a sent a number of e-mails to German Tollkuehns/Tolkiehns, etc. I got this reply from Guenther-Ulrich Tolkiehn, professor of "Informations- und Kommunikationentechnik":<BR><BR>Several years ago, I wanted to find out, whether we are rellated with the author. My findings (mostly based on the work of one late grand-uncle of mine, Rev. Heinrich Tolkiehn) were, in short:<BR>-My ancestors lived in Ostpreusen (a part of Germany until 1945, the northern part which now belongs to Russia, as an exclave[sic]).<BR>-The area belongs to the "lower German" language region since ca. 1200. Older languages, especially eastern idioms, were also present in the old days, but died out later.<BR>-Our name was changed from the original Tolkien into Tolkiehn around 1800(in principle we know the exact date and the person who did it, but I am presently not aware of it).<BR>-The name Tolkien is a typical name only for the area of Ostpressen. Many family names there end -ien (like Leptien, Monien, and so on), but the meaning of this ending is somewhat unclear (as far as I know). The first part of the name is derived from the word-base talk and the name means a bi-lingual person, who can translate the old language (Prutzisch[a Baltic language]) to German. Today, the name is not very abundant, but prresent all over Germany, esp4ecially in the bigger cities of northern Germany. This is mainly due to the deportation of the population of that area after the second world war[sic]<BR>-We could not, however, find out any direct connection between our ancestors and the ancestors of the author in Lower Saxony. One reason may be, that in the area where my ancestors lived, the church-books where[sic] burnt as a consequence of some war (this date is in principle well known, I think it was somewhat later than the 30 years war[sic], i.e. later than 1648, but I would have to look it up). We did not make any research effort in lower[sic] Saxony.<BR><BR>I hope, I could be a little helpful and would of course appreciate any information about your findings.<BR>Yours sincerely,<BR><BR>Prof. Dr. Guenther-Ulrich Tolkiehn<BR>Informations- und Kommunikationenstechnik<BR>TFH Wildau<BR>BahnhofstraBe<BR>15745 Wildau<BR><BR><BR>It was really great of G-U to respond. Some interesting info. If accurate, the derivation of the name from a cognate of "talk" and a connection to translation is interesting in light of JRRT's linguistic interests and skills!
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Sat Jul 07, 2001 10:35 am

The Hohenzolleren story is a family "tradition" that was passed along by JRRT's Aunt Grace. As an amateur genealogist, I'd take it with a grain of salt, at the least, and one of those fast-food salt packets, more realistically. Most families have stories that tie them in to famous persons or events, especially among the upwardly mobile, middle-class families like the Tolkiens. In the US, stories about inter-marriage with Native Americans, Revolutionary ancestors at Valley Forge, War of Secession ancestors at Gettysburg are among the most common and the most unreliable without documentation. In one branch of my family tree there was a long-disproven claim of connections to the French royals, and a supposed in-law relationship with the Henry Fords in another (unproven).<BR><BR>The thing is, that when you can get hold of them, the real stories are so much more fascinating, if less dramatic, than the fictional ones! Unfortunately, the story-links in my family were, for several reasons, broken. I have a lot of names and dates and a few faces, but little to flesh them out. Sigh!
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Postby barky » Mon Jul 23, 2001 10:51 pm

I think Vercelestarriole's original question has certainly been answered, and the second question (what descent is surname Tolkien?) even moreso. The etymology given by the German Professor Guenther-Ulrich Tolkiehn is to me the most interesting thing I've read on this site in months, and my hat's off to Almacundo Auriandos with the next beer on me.<BR><BR>But interesting as his strange name is, I think we all seem a little reluctant to take JRRT at his word: he felt more like a Suffield than a Tolkien, whatever his name was, and called himself English. Of course the Angles were a tribe from the area of Germany, etc, but English means English. <BR><BR>If we can agree that nature and culture split the difference in their effects on our personality, we should acknowledge, as JRRT himself did, that he was culturally very Suffield: he never knew his dad. Even if you're hung up on the blood thing, as Tolkien points out in that letter to the German publisher, he only had one certain "German" ancestor in all the years since that 18th-century Tolkien immigrant came to England: the original namesake patriarch. Most of the rest of his ancestors, generation after generation, were likely English folks of whatever kind.<BR><BR>So, I think V. is tending to the wrong conclusion in asking "So he's originally German?" The only thing you can say for sure is that one of JRRT's 32 great great great great grandfathers (or something like that) was certifiably from a region somewhere near Saxony, or maybe East Prussia (going with G-U).<BR><BR>No, he's originally English, with a funny name. Very much English.<BR><BR>
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Postby Almacundo/*Auirandos » Tue Jul 24, 2001 11:24 am

barky--I agree that for JRRT, his English family connection were the most interesting and heartfelt. But as an amateur genealogist, I find all his 32 great-greats interesting , not to mention his 64 great-great-greats, etc. It's not uncommon for someone to identify with one particular lineage (usually that of the patronymic, though my mother was most fascinated with her maternal grandmother's paternal line, which has a origin much like the Tollkuehns--Eastphalian with branches near Koenigsberg [modern Kalinengrad]). But we are the product of all our ancestors.<BR><BR>I just read one of the <i>Letters</i>, where JRRT writes to a women who mentions the "talk" theory. He utterly rejected it!
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