Identity Crisis (or What’s In A Name?)

Over the past few weeks I have been talking about getting the DNA testing with my father done. During this time, I think I have only talked with a couple of people – family memebers – about any of my fears in going through with this. One of them, a most recent fear, strikes me as both unusual and intriguing: My last name bears that of my fathers, and my first and middle names were given by both parents. The very real possibility is that, if John winquist is not my father, I might have to get a name change – after all, I would not be a Winquist.

With that in mind, I’ve been reading up on names and meanings and that. What I have found is intriguing. (My apologies for directly quoting the sites; At three in the morning, one does not necessarily feel like making his own meaning, especially when one has a lot on his mind. That’s partly why I am including the sources.)

The Last Name

The bright side of any change here is that there won’t be much change here: both Winquist and Blomquist are Swedish names, with minimal difference. The Win in Winquist, from most of the sources I have found, derives from the elements vind or ving, meaning (respectively) Wind or Wing. The Blom in Blomquist (My mother’s maiden name, which I would probably adopt should John not be my dad), derives from the element Blom, meaning Flower. In both cases, the quist in both names derives from kvist, meaning twig.

Effectively, the Winquist last name means Wind Twig or Wing Twig, while the Blomquist name means Flower Twig. (Source:

My First and Middle Names

Here’s where it get’s really sticky, and could really change a lot of things. The story I have akways heard is that both names were names they wanted to name me as my first name, and that Wayne was ultimately chosen for the link to the actor John Wayne. (That makes sense, my father being named John, as well as it making for a bad joke within the families.) Because I am unsure who awarded me the name – in other words, if “Wayne” came from either my mom or my dad – There is a possibility that my first name might need to be switched as well. (Unlikely, yes, as you will soon see, but it is worth pointing out.)

Wayne derives itself from the the occupational surname “wagon maker”, and comes from the Old English meaning of “wagon.” Carlton is an English derivitive of Charlton, itself a surname originally from a placename also from Old English meaning “settlement of free men.” Short and simple, right? (Source:

If there is a book I could recommend to people to buy, even if all they are doing is naming babys or just trying understand the names of themselves, friends or families, they would definitely be wise to buy The Secret Universe Of Names By Roy Feinson. The first part – which would also be the smallest part next to the usual business in most non-fiction books, such as indexes and table of contents – deals with where these names often come from, and helps to break down the keyletters found in common names. As such, the meanings of the names are associated to the key letters, and can have anywhere from a single name (such as Craig (one of my uncle’s names), the only derived from the letter combo CRG), to many names (like the combo Cth, for example, which includes Cath, Catherina, Cathleen, Cathy, and my sisters name Catherine.) The letter combos he uses are where he derives the many definitions of that are most important to a name.

For Wayne, this letter combo is Wn, with the W pertaining to the “mysterious” elements of life (he uses “Wild, Wonderful, Wooly and Wierd”, though in my cases “Wacky” should also be added), and the N being representative of the negatives in life. (I’d list his examples here, but who the hell wants to be negative?) As you can guess, he compares these to words like Wind, Winter, Wink, and (my favorite) Whine. (____ing wah!) He has 4 ratings and 6 words to describe these names. Wayne scored a 7 on Charisma, an 8 on Career Success, a 9 on Love and Friendship, and an 8 on Power. the 6 words used to describe this combo are: Talented, Adaptable, Shrewd, Closed, Suspicious, and Misunderstood.

Carlton derives itselfo from the letter combination Crl. The C and r are paired as a combo itself, representative of words like “cranky,” “crabby,” and “creepy.” (How he derived this from “the crystalline qualities of the C and the Romantic qualities of the R”, I have no clue, though it explains a lot of my moods. The CR combination, BTW, is one of a few combos he calls a “phoneme.”) the L takes from the Loving Qualites. Carl has an 8 on charisma, 8 on Career Success, 9 on Love and Friendship, and a 7 on Power. The words used to describe the Crl combo are: Lively, Unconventional, Capable, Analytical, Coquettish and Vain.

While I won’t quote the whole book in full, I found the passages for my both names to be very true to who I am as a person today, and I find the combo both very similar and fitting. A part of me is curious, though, what would have happened to me had my names been reversed.

What Does This Mean?

In February, when the tests are finally done and I get these questions resolved, the biggest question after “Is John my father?” might be “Will I need to change my name?” While it is hardly unlikely that My first and middle names will switch – after all, I did grow up being known all my life as “Wayne” – There is a possibility that John may not be my father. If he isn’t, the possibilty of becoming Carlton Wayne Blomquist becomes very real and very fast. (As I said before, One gave me Wayne, and one gave me Carlton, and I believe it was my mom who gave me Carlton.)

There is one other possibility, though, that I have been thinking about, and that’s not changing my name, regardless of how the outcome plays. The thing is, if I was 5 or even 15, changing my name to more accurately reflect the facts would be a lot easier than to change it now where anywhere between a third and three quarters of my life has already lived with this name. When you’re five or 15, you’re still learning who you are, whereas when you’re almost 30, you have a clearer and sharper image of that. I may very well become either the first of a new branch of Winquists, or I may decide to let this branch die without extending further.

What I do know for certain is that if John is my father, my name won’t change – there’s no need for it to change because not only will he be proven wrong, he will also be able to be held to his inactions, or the fact that he was never there. It’s if he is not my father that becomes a problem.


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