What’s in a Name?

The Origin of O’Russell:

Some of you may have noticed that O’Russell is not a real name. But before you condemn me for being cheesy, let’s look into the etymology of the name “O’Russell”. My maiden name is Orlowski. A fine Polish name that apparently is very hard to spell. I grew up in an area with a very large Polish population. So at home there are lots of names that end in ski, and we all innately know how to spell them. Away from home Orlowski is mispronounced and misspelled every day. My favorite being Orlofsky, which is from the operetta Die Fledermaus. A fine operetta, but still not my name.

My husband’s last name is Russell. A really great French name. I love my husband and have no intention of divorcing him, so I wouldn’t mind using his name professionally. Except that there are so many Russells in the world. And so many Megans. So, googling Megan Russell is like trying to find a name in a hay stack. I went into family names, but Cummings leads to jokes, Wright sounds too planned and perfect for an author, and Ford is the name of a car company.

So, I was back to Orlowski vs. Russell. I thought about using the whole hyphenate: Megan Orlowski-Russell, but then you would still have to spell Orlowski. I thought about Megan Orlowski Russell with no hyphen so maybe you could still find me with Orlowski misspelled. I thought about Megan O. Russell.  But right after my husband and I were married, people started calling us the O’Russells. Partially to mock him since I decided on a hyphenate for my new name. And partially to be sweet to me. To let me keep a part of my name while adding his and not trying to spell out the whole thing. I like O’Russell. It fits the life my husband and I have formed as an inseparable team. And because of that team I managed to write a book that is going to be published. So O’Russell it is.

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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