Sunlin etymology

My father, William Sunlin, often joked that our last name was the result of his grandfather’s work as a missionary in China, and he had received the name of Sunlin while there.

Okay, he made that up. But it was a product – I think – of being out of touch with our roots, due to an obscure family name and small pool of relatives.

The truth is that Sunlin, or Sünlin, is an old German name. I propose to share with you the history of this family name as I uncover more and more.

OHG. –lin: sünlin ‘little son’, schtflin; in the modern –lein (scherflein &c.) and in the Swabian –le the effect of the I is obliterated, but in Swiss –li (büebli, füessli &c.) it is still a living force.

-Selected Writings of Otto Jespersen (Routledge Revivals); Otto Jespersen. Routledge, Mar 17, 2010


One thought on “Sunlin etymology

  1. Douglas, thank you for sharing your research. I know how time consuming it can be. I wish we were neighbors, so we could have fun investigating the lives of our ancestors side by side!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s