Names.

Long before I received the email from Steven I was already writing about names and what they mean to us, and mostly how they automatically attribute some baggage with them, no matter who we are told has the name or who we are to meet. What I mean to say is that whilst first impressions of people are always the most important, the instantaneous connotations with a name may condemn a person before you have even spoke to them.

For example, if I ever meet another Mark I instantly have a rapport with them simply because we share nominal assets, even if they guy turns out to be a total tool. The reason for this is totally irrational, and to be honest, I can’t really explain. However, some take more from their name than I do – I mean, my name could be religious if I was so inclined – Mark the Evangelist, the author of the Gospel of Mark, is basically one of Saint Peter’s best mates, and to be honest that is a damn good mate to be friends with, as any person who is friends with a bouncer at a night club will attest. He also is the founder of Christianity in Africa having founded the Church of Alexandria having an obvious keen eye for successful franchising.

The odd thing is that both my names are slightly unusual in that they both appear in the dictionary as both nouns and verbs (to shield, to mark, a mark and a shield) but also that they mean totally different things when used as names. My surname apparently means to “belong to”, which… to be honest means nothing until you realise that it was countered with a first name. So, I would’ve been called Mark Shields of Aberdeen, meaning that I belong to, or “shield” if you will, Aberdeen. At least that’s how I take that to mean.
My first name doesn’t actually mean anything – unlike some which have equivalents in other languages, mine comes from Marcus, and has only been in use since the Middle ages when it was used along side Marcus. Indeed, Mark is the English and Russian language equivalent of the Latin Marcus. The 19th Century is where it was given it’s major boom, becoming more in use after Mark Twain used it as a pen name instead of his real name, Samuel Clemens, and he himself took it from a measurement of depth. So no real profoundness there… until you go to the origin, Marcus, and where it came from – the roman God Mars which means I share a namesake with a very nice chocolate bar, a planet, and Mars is the god of war, which is fine by me – better than being the god of flowers, huh?
The funny thing is that don’t have a unique name, which should not be surprising, but when I started to research this I found three famous people (properly famous) that share my name. One of which has the domain name of our name, and is a total geek out fest… Another is the rather famous political commentator on PBS, which is pretty awesome actually… but limits my brand power in the Americas. I’d need to change my name if I were to ever become an actor or musician. I was thinking Mark Walker or Mark Finlay… something Scottish or impressive – how about Mark Danger Detroit? Or Mark Fire-killer? The third person who has my name is a policeman that ended up in the spotlight twice, once for his transfer and secondly for the murder of a member of the sport at the Cricket World Cup.

But back to Steven’s email – it gave me a link to census results for names in the UK. After trying a few, the results became clear and fun to see… and spurred this post to be finished.

99% of people with the surname are British (in Britain)
96% are English
0.66% are Scottish
0.09% are Hispanic
0.04% are Italian
0.00% are Russian
The largest population live in Glasgow
The most populous post code is the Isle of Cumbrae
United States top state is Delaware
The name is British and Irish origin, with no entries in Africa or Asia worth recording.

Link for the Map of 1998 spread: http://www.nationaltrustnames.org.uk/Map.aspx?name=SHIELDS&year=1998&altyear=1881&country=GB&type=name

National Trust Surnames: http://www.nationaltrustnames.org.uk/Surnames.aspx

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6483849.stm The Policeman