When this article came out, Washington’s 179th birthday was just a week away, and so the Times presented this convoluted history of the Washington family showing that the Washingtons were once known as De Hertburn, but changed their names to reflect their estate, called Wessyngton, which was the Norman spelling of Washington. This happened generations before George was born. So, yeah. Washington’s ancestors were not called Washington. Big deal.
The real name of the first President of the United States was not Washington. His baptismal name was George, and he was born Feb. 22 in the year 1732. The old colony of Virginia was his birthplace, but the true name of his male ancestors was not Washington. This may seem a sweeping statement in the light of generally accepted history, but careful research has established beyond doubt that the ancient founder of the family from which came the Father of our Country was named William De Hertburn. The key to this apparent paradox lies int he fact that, in common with many noblemen and monarchs of Europe, the first President possessed an estate name and a real, or family name, the latter being known as the patronymic, or paternal name.
Whatever. It’s not like learning that the Queen of England is actually a man. So Happy Birthday, George Washington, if that is your real name.
WASHINGTON NOT REAL NAME OF OUR FIRST PRESIDENT: Prof. Cigrand’s Researches Lead to Conclusion That It Was De Hertburn — How “Wessyngton” Became “Washington.” (PDF)
From February 19, 1911
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