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If most white Americans are of German descent, then why do most of them have English last names?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's true that alot of German families anglicized their names upon arrival in English-speaking America. Even more did this during WWII to avoid association with Adolf Hitler's government. Many did it just to mae pronunciation easier.

    What is not always known, is how many so-called 'English' names are actually Irish or Welsh, and consequently have a Celtic language origin. Jones is Welsh for John's son, and might be the most popular name in America.

    A majority of Afro-Americans have Welsh family surnames, like Condi Rice (Rice comes from Rhys) or Colin Powell (Powell comes from Ap Howell or son of Howell), etc. Williams is another Welsh/Scots name that is mistaken for English and popular in the U.S.

    Many Welsh families settled America, but were perceived to be English, since they spoke Enlgish and were often Protestant Christians. Many Welsh were Quakers, Unitarians, and Non-Conformist Chapel members who fought slavery in the Abolition Movement.

    As a result, a lot of freed slave took the names of Welsh families to honor their liberators. The most famous Welsh-American Abolitionist was Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'

    One famous Welsh family in America freed their slaves and started a University, which still has the Welsh family naes of Johns-Hopkins. If you have a Welsh family surname (Evans, Williams, Jones, Roberts, Price, Powell, etc.) and you're of African descent, it's possible that your ancestors were assisted in the Underground Railroad by Welsh-American Abolitionists.

    Ironically, one of the most important Abolitionists Welsh families in Cinnicinati brought 100s of runaway slaves into Canada and over to Swansea, Wales to be free. They were Welsh, but their family name was Germanic, the Heinikens, (just like the famous Dutch beer) who worked with Harriet Beecher Stowe.

    There are Welsh-speaking Afro-Brits living in Wales today who trace their names and freedom back to American-Welsh families who freed slaves in America. Great story, huh?

  • Iris
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Since when are most white Americans of German descent?

    Most are a mix of English, German, Irish, Polish, Italian, and a plethora of other European ethnicities.

    Are you sure you don't mean "Germanic"? The English are considered to be one of the Germanic races.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Quite obviously most americans are not of German descent then! I know quite a few Americans personally and most are Scottish? Irish descent. I think you must be refering to the German Jews that immigrated there, which dosen't account for the largest white race in the USA.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's not so much that they're German as the term RedNeck comes into play. Those of the rare 'RN' background use social prefixes such as 'Bubba', Sis, Maw', or Skeeter, denote ones place in the heirachy of the family unit in question.

    The last names are not specifically English or German....the common names of our target group took sunames that, in some way, reflected the familys historical occupation. The common names of Smith, Fouchard, Miller, Brown (stone was dropped), and Fudgepacker are all reminiscent of th fine heritage of expertise that certian of the sourthernmost caucasian tribes have mastered.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Germanic not German, but it was long-long ago, while at the moment most Americans are of Hispanic origin He he....

    Now Germanic include- Austria, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden

  • 1 decade ago

    Since English is the language of the country, the German names could be simplified to match English names.So you think they are all English names

  • Most white americans are of English descent. Yet, there are alot of Irish, French, German, Italian, Spaniard-Spanish, etc.

    Alot of white people changed their names to avoid descrimination because if you didn't have a 'white british' last name you weren't seen as American.

    So most American whites are actually mutts of several intermingled white Europeans.

  • 1 decade ago

    Alot of british also come from germany , so whats your point ?

  • 1 decade ago

    We don't mostly have english last names.

    That is not true.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think yous mistaken

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