Ancestry.com is an exceptional tool for learning how unexceptional you really are. Like most people around my age, I spend more time thinking about roots and origins and the “old times” than I did, say, 20 years ago. Can it, then, be a surprise that, when the opportunity to pop my family name into an Ancestry.com search box popped up on my Facebook timeline, I did so?
The invitation was to search the meaning of your surname. Heck, who hasn’t asked himself at some point, “What the heck is a ‘Strother’?” I know I have. So, here I go. Hang on.
And the answer is…
Are you kidding me? What a letdown.
Strother Name Meaning: Northern English and Scottish: topographic name from northern Middle English strother ‘damp land overgrown with brushwood’, or a habitational name from any of the various places named with this word, as for example Strother in Tyne and Wear, or Struthers in Fife and Strathclyde.
It means “damp land overgrown with brushwood?” A Strother is a dadgum swamp?
Here, I was hoping for some noble origin, fraught with meaning, bound to inspire one to live up to his own name. How the heck do you live up to a swamp? How does one draw inspiration from a name derived from mostly worthless marshland in some remote and forgotten place?
But I shall.
I shall aspire to be as difficult to navigate, as resistant to taming, as dangerous and unpredictable, as uninhabitable as the remotest, wildest swamp.
Or, better still, I shall aspire to resist letting that which predicated me predict me. I may come from the swamp lands. I may hail from unremarkable stock. But unexceptional shall never be acceptable to me.
I would say more about this, but right now I am swamped.