Changing my surname - suffixes and spellings?

I've always loved looking up names - I guess I too have a fixation with them - so it was great to find this site!


i go through periods of wanting to change my name. Not necessarily because I hate it - more because I like to think of more ...'interesting' names I suppose. Names I would use if I wrote a book kinda thing.  I've never seriously considered changing my name in 'real life' though because up until recently I've a) lacked the necessary confidence to do so (what could very think if me?!!), b) I've thought it's the name I was given at birth - it just felt .. Taboo to change it.


 lately I am probably the closet I've been to actually going through with a name change. I have a special birthday coming up that is the beginning if the next step in my life (think big one with a four in it!) and think it would be a perfect gift to myself. It would also symbolically represent the new step forward into almost u chartered territory (bit if a story behind that).   Initially yes - changing my name was a way to 'break away' from my past - a very painful childhood from which I struggle with many years later. I don't especially like my current last name - nothing dreadful, but people seem to mis-hear what I say - it's  a pain, AND i don't actually like how it sounds with my shortened first name - it's too abrupt.


But over the the osst few days it's become less about moving (running?) away from, and more about moving too - forging a new beginning. I also see it as a confidence thing - I think it takes courage to make such a change - I don't know anyone else who has changed their name (other than the usual last name change when someone marries)


i would keep my first name - I like it! and it would be much more convenient and less difficult to make the change. my middle and last names - I would  change. I am named after family meme ers - all of which are dead. The only living relatives that would object are both in their 70s and 90s and to be honest - I wouldn't tell them I'd done it.  They share my surname and as my father passed away a few years ago, they would very likely see it as disrespectful to him. My sister could hardly comment as she changed her name when married! I have no other relatives that are in my life to the pint they'd have an opinion.  So it's pretty awesome in that regard! 


Looking for a last name, I came up firstly with 'Winter' - because I LOVE winter - even now as a mature adult, I get as excited as a kid at Xmas when it snows.   also in the past couple of years I took up a winter sport fills me with passion in a way very very few things in my life have. Unfortunately being a seasonal sport, it's only for 4 months of the year.  Having a surname reflecting my love if winter,  I figure would be a great way to link my love of winter, all year round. 


HOWEVER - paired with my first name (I go by liz), I think it sounds too harsh. Too abrupt, and far from the friendly person I am.  'Elizabeth. Winter' I like, 'Liz. Winter' - I don't.


so I've looked at adding a suffix to it - something friendly sounding, that I think has a nice flow to it.  Of all the possibilities I've come up with, I so far like 'winterbey' the best.  I'm not fully decided if I will use this name - I'm not going to rush into a snap decision. But I'm stuck on spellings and which one to use.....


when you read the name, how did you pronounce it as you read it? 


Its meant  to be read as 'Winterbee'.  


other options are: Winterby, or I suppose Winterbi (I don't like either especially I ending!)


initilaly i liked 'winterbee' as it would be the easiest to spell, I simply say 'as in, winter' And 'bee' double ee.  But thinking ahead, I'm not so sure -  While it might fit in nicely with my sense of fun right now - not so sure when I'm 70 years old, I'll feel the same?  Also too of course -much more  immediate association with a winter bee as in buzzy bee ...


yet spelling it 'bey' - I'm not sure I like it ... Although adding the middle name I'd pick (after a very dear friend), it would mean my full name as all letters WXYZ which I then is pretty cool. Buuuut - the 'bey' doesn't seem to capture my sense if fun in the same way - I feel caught between a balance of what suits me now in this phase of my life, and thinking ahead (which face it - I could be struck by lightening next year and never have to worry about my name being less 'mature' as I age. Oils always just adopt a more 'grown up' spelling later on, too.


would the spelling 'bey' result in people thinking it's 'winter BYE'?


i also think winterby would be seen as 'win TER by' (I don't like how it looks either)


if anyone has any other ideas as to suffixes, I'm interested also. ones such as 'winterstone' or 'winter tree' I think make too much of a link to the stone and tree bit - it's WINTER i want the emphasis to be on.  I also love the 'ee' sound at the end if Winterbey.  And 'winterly' i tnk is a bit 'cold'. Basically, I just love how the 'bee' sound flows. But I'm open to other ideas


thanks in advance!


By EVie
September 23, 2014 4:12 PM

Winterby is a very pretty choice for a surname. The suffix -by in English place names comes from Old Norse and means "farm," so it would mean "Winter farm." It would be pronounced the way you want.

From A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney, we also have:

  • Winter, Winters, Wintour, Wynter, Wynters (literally means "winter," usually originated as a nickname)
  • Winterborn, Winterborne, Winterbourn, Winterbourne, Winterburn (from various places in England named Winterborne, Winterbourn and Winterburn, means "winter stream," referring to a stream that flows most strongly in winter)
  • Winterflood (from an English place name, probably also refers to a stream)
  • Winterfold (a "fold" is a paddock for livestock, usually sheep, and probably refers to one where animals were kept in the winter)
  • Winteringham (another English place name. This one doesn't actually refer to the season winter--it means "homestead of the family or followers of a man named Wintra." It could be that the Old English name Wintra does have something to do with winter--Miriam might know). 
  • Winterman (this is an occupational surname meaning "servant of Winter." Winter here probably refers to a person named Winter).
  • Winterscale, Wintersgill (Also a place name, meaning "winter-hut." Probably refers to a hut where a shepherd would stay to keep warm when out with the sheep in the winter.)
  • Wintersett (from a place name, "fold used in winter.")
  • Winterslow (from a place name meaning "mound or tumulus of a man named Winter.")
  • Winterton (from a place name, "farmstead of the family or followers of a man named Wintra.")
  • -
  • But there are hundreds of other second elements that you could combine with Winter to make a new name. Wintermere ("winter lake"), Wintermead ("winter meadow"), Winterbeck ("winter stream"), Winterbridge ("winter bridge"), Winterbury ("winter fortress"), Winterkirk ("winter church"), Wintercott ("winter cottage"), Winterdel ("winter valley"), Winterdown ("winter hill"), Winterfleet ("winter stream"), Winterford ("ford used in winter"), Winterlow ("winter hill"), Winterlock ("folds or enclosures used in winter"), Wintersell ("hall or house used in winter"), Wintertree or Wintertrey ("winter tree"), Winterway ("track or road used in winter"), Winterwood ("winter wood", i.e. forest). Or, if you're a Game of Thrones fan, Winterfell. 

If you're willing to consider names with "winter" not as the first element, there's also Midwinter.

Much less commonly, the word "winter" in Old English also means "vineyard," as in the place name Radwinter, which may mean "Red vineyard." 

September 23, 2014 8:15 PM

I pronounced Winterbey as Winter-bay. I'd go with the Winterby spelling to get the pronunciation you want. 

September 24, 2014 4:17 AM

Thank you for the info Evie - that's really comprehensive thanks!  Even some suffixes I hadn't thought of.


thand you Elizabeth for replying also - yesterday I was leaning towards 'bye' but today it's been 'bee' all the way.  I'll see what tomorrow brings.


i think the only reason I'd go with anything other than 'bee' is because I'd be thinking about what OTHER people might think.  I'd pick another spelling (like 'by') only because I think other people might think it's 'better' or 'less silly'.  But deep down I just simply really really like the spelling ending in the double e.


ive printed off the change of name documents. I've spoken to the regulating body that deals with the legal changing if the name and reissue of a birth certificate.  I hope to fill in the forms and set up an app with an official to be 'witness' to my signing them.   I think I'll wait a week to 'be sure' and then, if I still feel the way I do now, I'll post them off. anout 3 weeks later I will have my new name officially recognised and a new birth cert.  my plan then would be to hold off another couple if weeks - until my birthday - before I 'announce' and 'reveal' my new name. Until then, only my friend will know I'm doing it and what it is.


im gang to write a huge list of all the places I need to change my name with - it's a lot of places! Banks, accountant, tax service, lawyer, house title, insurance, power, telephones, local council, vet, doctor....  some if those I will change my details with before my 'reveal day'. And those closest to me (work and family) will be after my birthday.


By EVie
September 24, 2014 9:59 AM

Winterbee is a plausible spelling for the surname, if you prefer it. The vast majority of the modern place names are spelled with a -by ending (ones that are probably most familiar: Willoughby, Wetherby, Rugby)--the one exception I could find is Lockerbie, Scotland. But spellings were not standardized in the Middle Ages when surnames were forming, and there are surnames with variant spellings of these names that end in -bee (e.g. Applebee), so Winterbee is fine.

September 24, 2014 10:03 AM

I know a Wetherbee.

September 24, 2014 6:21 PM

Hehe. Yes I'm sure there are a few surnames with 'bee' at the end ...  But for my name, I definitely want 'winter' in it - and no matter how Much  I tried to come up with other alternatives (even - very briefly - considered other winter names - frot, snow, etc), I've never really strayed from the current choice.


ive kept a notebook since Sunday when I started considerng this - right on the to of the first page is the current choice.  I have a few other ideas written down - mainly my middle name, but a few surnames - but time and time again, I kept coming back to this name.@

funny, but in my head I picture a 'winter tree' when I say my name - I don't see a 'bee' so much ... (Yes i did consider wintertree as an option).. Even wrote down 'winterbree' or 'winterrose' - the last being gorgeous, but it's the SOUND of 'bee' that keeps me with it.  and the 'ee' ending - I love the letter 'e' :-)

September 24, 2014 6:23 PM

Call it an omen perhaps - but I was woken in the middle of the night by a bumblebee that had flown into my room and was trying to get out a closed window.


given all the doors and windows have been very carefully shut for days (due to a sick cat not being allowed out)... i have no idea HOW it got in at 2am.


in my heart of hearts, the 'bee' ending is the only one I really truly love.


is it weird that its only been a few days since this all came to me and already it feels like my 'real' name?


but I'm definitely not ready to 'share' it with anyone else just yet. I say it to myself a lot over and over all day - it never fails to being a huge grin to my face and i light up inside :). The more I distance myself from my current name - ie the further I feel from moving away from it as I go through this process - the more I dislike it.  Funny how much loyalty and confirmity persuade us to stick with what is familiar.  I'm more able to see how much I really don't like it - saying it to others when I introduce myself I have felt 'yuck' and 'I don't like this name' - but never really truly questioned it before.


evie - I did consider 'ie' but thought there was still a chance some would prounouce it 'bye'.  I know most of us would prob once all the options of speling the 'right' way BUT because it is such an unusual surname as in quite unique) and something 'different' there is bound to be some that 'get it wrong' when seeing it written down.


i do know I will still have to spell it and correct people - I anticipate I'll say my name and it will be 'double checked' to see if they really did hear what I said. But I ok with that. It happens with my current surname and that's far from uncommon!!!