What's up with the surname "am Ende"?

What's the origin and why the funny spelling?

It's German! And, yes, it's two words - there's a space between the "am" and the "Ende". In German, "am Ende" is a contraction of the phrase "an dem Ende" meaning "on the end" or "at the end". The Germans capitalize all nouns, so the "Ende" (end) is capitalized whereas the "am" (on/at the) is not. Since it's not common, the spelling looks strange when compared to a more familiar surname such as "von Braun"

The first "am Ende" probably lived "at the end" of a street, or some similar location. My father joked, "He probably died 'on the end' of a hanging rope!"

Although it's not a surname, the German city, "Frankfurt am Main" follows the same logic. It translates to "Frankfurt on the Main (river)" ref: Here

Since I worked for the (originally French) chemical company "E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company", I used to tell my co-workers that "am Ende" is spelled just like "du Pont", just with different letters!

How is "am Ende" pronounced?

There is no standard pronunciation. I use the same pronunciation as my Dad. My sister, Barbara, uses the German pronunciation. My sons Chris and David have given it an "Eastern US" flavor.

The Germans would pronounce it "ahm-end-ah". Harkening back to my two years of High School German, click here for the German pronunciation:

My father immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Germany in 1925. He "Americanized" the pronunciation to "amend-ee". This is my preferred pronunciation, click here:

"After immigrating to America, many Germans changed ("Americanized") their surname to make it easier for others to pronounce or merely to feel more a part of their new home. Many surnames, especially occupational and descriptive surnames, were changed to the English equivalent of the German." ref: Here

Since we live on the East Coast of the United States, it seems the majority of the people who see the written version of the name, pronounce it "amend-day". Click here:    for this pronunciation. A few of my golfing buddies have corrupted this even further: "amend-daze".

Why hasn't anyone heard of this name?

First, as mentioned earlier, this is not a common German surname. Second, there haven't been many famous am Endes. Probably the most famous am Ende was Hans am Ende, a German artist. My dad claimed him as a relative - I haven't a clue where he fits into the family tree. The German Wikipedia has an article Here The Google translator with convert his to English Here We are becoming more famous in the scientific community. A Google Scholar search on author="am Ende" yields about 290 results. ref: Here The first two pages are all immediate family (Mary, Dave and Barbara).

Other

My sister, Barbara, has a short explanation of "am Ende" on her website Here

And one more thing... My given name is "Gerald am Ende". Why do I go by "Jerry", not "Gerry"? Former President, Gerald Ford used "Jerry", not "Gerry", as the spelling of his nickname. I figured the President had set a precident. Therefore, I'm "Jerry".

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