Surname Saturday — street sign discoveries

With my frequent visits to semi-rural cemeteries in recent years, I’ve often found myself in little Iowa towns about which I’ve heard stories but that are otherwise unfamiliar to me. A couple of times I’ve also found myself standing under street signs bearing ancestors’ surnames — specifically, the Danish name Clausen and the English name Case.

Mind you, I’d never even been to these towns before I started my family history research and do not know the stories behind the naming of these streets. I’ve simply been struck by the interesting coincidence of the street signs turning up bearing the surnames I’ve just been viewing on my ancestors’ gravestones. I hope eventually to explore the real stories.

The street sign phenomenon tends to happen in tiny towns … with populations of about 500 people.  In the case of the top two photos on the right, after completing my cemetery sojourn, I drove through the adjacent town, only to look up and see the family name welcoming me to turn down a new street. The towns are small and the streets ultimately lead to farmland. While I hope to look into the signs’ real history some day, for now I just stop, smile, and snap a photo. Because it’s consistent with the theme, I’ve included a similar photo taken in the Netherlands in the 1970s by my grandparents, who had the Dutch name Kreykes, about which I posted previously here.

I wish the quality of my street sign photos was better, but I’m usually trying to take them without getting run over or drawing the attention of the neighbors…

I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends …

Surname Saturday is a weekly blogging prompt from Geneabloggers encouraging family history bloggers to post about a surname,  its origins, and how it fits into their genealogical  research.

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8 Responses to Surname Saturday — street sign discoveries

  1. Jana Last says:

    Very interesting. I wonder how you could find out the history of those signs to see if there in fact is a connection to some of your ancestors. Perhaps there are published city or county histories.

    And I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

    • ljhlaura says:

      Thanks, Jana. It would be interesting to find out the origin of the street names, though it might also be more fun just imagining! I hope to learn more as time permits, though these are very small towns, so it may not be easy. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for stopping by!

  2. Sheryl says:

    I agree that finding street signs with family names tends to be a small town phenomenon, but it’s still awesome that you found street signs with family names.

    • ljhlaura says:

      Thanks, Sheryl — I guess it really was kind of awesome … definitely interesting coincidences … and now new mysteries to solve … always something new to explore!

  3. D Lee says:

    I’d love to know how to find out the history of a street’s name. There is a Zumstein street in Columbus, Ohio. I should try to get a photo of the sign. In any case, I’m so curious about the reason the street was named Zumstein. It’s not that common of a name in Columbus. Great post. Glad to know someone else wonders about street sign stories just like me.

    • ljhlaura says:

      It does spark one’s curiosity, doesn’t it? I’d expect there are records of these things — I’ve just not had a chance to pursue it yet. I do wish you success in learning about Zumstein Street!

  4. Mom says:

    Laura, Congrats! I awarded you with a Liebster! Please go to my blog “MAybe someone should write that down” http://www.youwhoineverknew.wordpress.com for more info. Congrats again!
    Kassie aka Mom

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