What’s in a Name?

Family history

Of many sane and sensible answers to that oft-quoted query, one that seldom appears but in my view rates highlighting is HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT!

Immediate cause of this mini-rant is the irritating frequency of hearing my surname uttered as  WAY-DEN – rather than its common rendering as WAD-DEN,  rhyming with sodden, or Godden or, if you like,  Culloden.  

Bringing up this minor grievance just now stems from the recent release in Ottawa of the booklet, The Waddens: A Family History, co-authored by me and my late brother Brian Wadden of St. John’s, Newfoundland.   While delving into many aspects of family background, including the various ways in which the family name has been spelled, we never got around to describing how it is pronounced.  There never was a pronunciation problem in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, where families of this name are not uncommon, but in Ottawa this wayward take on the name does abound.  Maybe it is an Ottawa Valley thing!

Telling the story of one Irish family’s migration to Newfoundland in the 1830s, well before the Famine, this little booklet touches on a few surprises found in digital parish records. Family origins are traced to Norman and Flemish invaders of Ireland more than eight centuries ago. Descendants remain in Newfoundland but many more are scattered throughout North America.

A few pictures help to identify some key individuals in family development.

Copies of The Waddens: A Family History may be ordered by contacting nix.wadden@sympatico.ca

4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Sylvia Pearson

    Hello Nix: Would you know if their is a Peter Browne married to Emma Mary Wadden in you ancestry. If so please contact me ok??

    1. Nix Post author

      Yes. Emma Wadden (1895-1992), daughter of Joseph Wadden and Emily Kearney, married Peter Browne and had three children, one of whom is Emmie Browne who is living in a retirement home in St. John’s. There is a photo of Emma Browne in my Wadden Family History booklet. And the information given above is in a family tree included in the booklet. Would you like a copy of the booklet?


        Thank you but no I am not interested in purchasing your book. I am working on the genealogy of the Browne side of the family. Already have some Wadden info but looking for info on Peter’s parents etc.. Thought maybe Emma could help me out with that. I contacted you first and a few other of your relatives looking for answers. From what I have heard she will unfortunately be unable to help . That is ok I understand 100per cent. Good luck with your blog!!!


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