Monday, February 10, 2014

Reader Comments


In respect of the "Dead cat on a line" post:

From Sue P:

Was there also a link to the Last of the Mohicans? I seem to recall a link to the Catskill Mountains

And there is a band by that name

Can readers assist?

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From Peter M:

Back in the day when corrupt NSW police suspected their phones were tapped or they were otherwise under surveillance the standard warning comment to a colleague was "there's a whale in the bay" 
All the best 

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From Byter Tim B:

Hello Otto 
Thanks for the research. A masterful job I might add. I think I’ll go with the DARE explanation that someone is trying to deceive you or that something is going on behind your back. 
Thanks again and once again, I love Bytes Daily. 


In respect of the Funny Friday item on piano accordions: 

From Brett B:

Here's one that has also been applied to banjoes: 
Q: What's perfect pitch? 
A: When the accordion lands in the dumpster without hitting the sides. 


In respect of the item on Hitler's nephews and niece:

From Kara O: 

Interesting [as always] Otto. I find it bizarre that William Patrick Hitler / Stuart-Houston would name his first born son Alexander Adolf! 
Regards, Kara

My reply:

I know!! Adolf was a more common name back then, Hitler effectively killed it. He also killed the toothbrush moustache. However I am still surprised that, given his professed hatred for his uncle, he called his first born Adolf.


From Kara O:

Disregarding the fact that I should be doing other things, I just made a short, rather unscientific survey (covering one English County and a single well known Germanic given-name).

Birth Registration in the English County of Middlesex: (10 year periods ending with year shown)

Ending / Adolf / Adolph
1890        25    167
1900        42    155
1910        44    127
1920        32     66
1930         3     28
1940         4      1
1950         2      0
1960         1      4

A high proportion of the results for Adolph included versions ending in -e, -o, -us. Equally high numbers had Italian surnames. 
Up to 1920 the results were mostly Adolf with a couple of female children named Adolfine, and one Adolfina. Nearly all (that I actually looked at) had Germanic surnames.

Remembering that many 'English' families with Germanic surnames, Anglicised their names, they would also have followed through by using English given-names for their children. The numbers dropped significantly in the decade ending 1920, and as you say just about died out altogether since.

Looking at the US Census for 1940 and specifying an exact birth year (born in US) and restricting given name to Adolf I got these figures
1890 - 1,146; 1900 - 746; 1910 - 594; 1920 - 353; 1930 - 88; 1939 - 37 

Was Adolf used much in the Netherlands? The most common names in my husband's family tree are Hermann, Jacob, and Johannes.



Thanks, Kara.

From Wikipedia:

Adolf was a common name for newborn babies in German-speaking countries in the 19th century and early 20th century until the end of World War II. Because of negative associations with the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, the name "Adolf" is now rarely given as a forename to males. The name is still common among now-elderly people. Adolf Dassler, the founder of Adidas, ended up using his nickname "Adi" in his professional life and for the name of his company.

Similarly, the French version, Adolphe — previously a fairly common name in France and also the name of a classical work of French literature — has virtually disappeared, and the Italian name Adolfo has suffered a similar fate.

However, the Spanish and Portuguese version, Adolfo, has not become stigmatised in the same way. It is still in common use in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries.

In the Netherlands many men who had been given the name Adolf changed their name to Dolf after World War II.

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From Charles Z:

Otto - where did I get the notion that Hitler's family name was Shicklegruber? 


  • Adolf Hitler’s father was a man by the name of Alois Hitler (1837-1903).

  • Alois was the ex-nuptial son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber (1795-1847), but the baptismal register did not show the name of his father and hence he was known by his mother’s family name, Schicklgruber.
  • In 1842, when Alois was aged 5, Maria Anna married Johann George Hiedler. Anna Maria died in 1847 and Johann in 1856. Alois, aged 19, was thereafter raised in the household of Johann’s brother, also named Johann: Johann Nepomuk Hiedler. 
  • In 1876 Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register was changed by a priest to register Johann George Hiedler as Alois’ father, but recorded as George Hitler.
  • In 1885 Alois married his third wife, Klara Polzl, his housekeeper.
Alois Hitler, formerly Alois Schiklgruber

Klara Hitler

  • They had the following children:

Gustav Hitler (born 10 May 1885, died of diptheria on 8 December 1887)

Ida Hitler (born 23 September 1886, died of diphtheria 2 January 1888 in Braunau am Inn)

Otto Hitler (born and died 1887 in Vienna, lived three days) 

Adolf Hitler (born 20 April 1889, committed suicide 30 April 1945)

Adolf Hitler as a baby

Edmund Hitler (born 24 March 1894, died of measles, 28 February 1900)

Paula Hitler (born 21 January 1896, died 1 June 1960)

  • Alois, a strict and stern disciplinarian, had little interest in the children and left the child raising to Klara, which included two children of his first marriage, Alois Jnr and Angela. An abusive husband and abusive father, he preferred to spend his time in the tavern and beekeeping. After Alois Jnr quarreled with him and left for good, Angela married and left, and after son Edmund died of measles, the only children remaining were Adolf and Paula. Alois and Adolf also argued, the former seeking to browbeat his son and the latter defying. Alois died in 1903 aged 66. Klara died in 1907 aged 47, of breast cancer, leaving Adolf (age 18) and Paula (age 11), to complete their education with Klara’s parents.

Adolf Hitler at the grave of his parents in 1938.  This is a postcard.

The grave of Adolf Hitler's parents in Leonding, near Linz, in Austria.

In 2012 the tombstone marking the grave, a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis, was removed at the request of a descendant. The grave had been a cult site ever since Hitler paid homage there in 1938. 

In Austria graves are leased for 10 year periods, then they can be reused without removing those already interred. Asked whether he would have trouble persuading people to let their loved ones share a grave with the parents of Adolf Hitler, village priest Kurt Pitterschatscher said: "I really haven't thought about it."

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