Unless your living under a rock, you have heard the comment at least once..."scum"?"As in Soap scum?"
I'm a 35 year old soldier and prior Marine so I'm not thin skinned enough to let the spelling of our name ruin my day, however, I've gotta ask, "What the H#LL happened?"
My cousin (2nd cousin) asked ourselves this question the other day.He's also a soldier here at Ft. Bragg, NC.
My response to my cousin was that I heard (unsubstantiated rumour of course) that it had something to do with the Civil War.The wives, after losing their husbands to the War, migrated from VA to TN.It was there that they lived and worked, largely illiterate, until the First World War.Our menfolk did the right thing and enlisted.When the Army asked their names they replied "Branscombe" and the Army officials asked for a spelling with which they admitted their illiteracy.So the Army spelled the name as it sounded "scum".
Sounds like a likely story I know, but it did happen to my grandfather (Mother side) in WWII when he enlisted in the Navy.His name was R.L. and his twin was named L.R..When the navy petty officer asked his name at inprocessing my Grandfather told him.He replied that he had to have a "real" name and not two letters of the alphabet.So my Grandfather choose Richard Luther after his father.True story.
I know that doesn't mean our name was spelled by the military but it is all I have to go on.Futher, I'd love to believe it.I mean what person would voluntary choose "scum" at the end of their name?I did some amateur etemylogical research on the word "scum" and it is indeed an English word that is very old.It means what we know it to mean, i.e., something dirty.
I also did some research on "scombe" which in old English means "valley".So, Branscombe, means "Bran's, Valley".This is correct isn't it.
If you can help me explain this name change I would appreciate it.Please tell me it was beyond our ancestors control to make this change, because if it wasn't and the change from "scombe" to "scum" was voluntarily done I'll feel...well....STUPID!