Once again we have some Latvian surnames for a more obscure Latvian letter of the alphabet for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge. “Ū” is a long U sound.

ŪDENS means “water”. In old orthography, it would have been written as Uhden or Uhdens. In Cyrillic, it would be Уденс. I have seen this name in Jaunsalaca and Lugaži.

ŪDRS is somewhat more common – it means “otter”. In old orthography, it could be Uhdr, Uhder, Uhdris. In Cyrillic, it would be Удрис. I have seen this name in Lāde, Limbaži, Meirāni, Nabe, Pāle, Sēļi and Vecpiebalga.

Do you know any other “Ū” surnames? Where have you seen them? Share your findings!

Ū is for Ūdens and Ūdrs

3 thoughts on “Ū is for Ūdens and Ūdrs

  • November 6, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I’m intrigued by just how different these names are in the variant styles. Far more than English-style names.

  • October 14, 2014 at 6:41 am

    The Uden surname was changed from uden to Youden in the late 1700’s by a man named Thomas Youden from Whitby, England and settled in Newfoundland.

    Newfoundland was part of Britain, gained its independence for a short while and then joined with Canada in 1949.

  • October 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    This is unlikely. Widespread use of surnames amongst ethnic Latvians in Latvia did not start until the early 1800s, since prior to that they were serfs. This was also not a time of great migration from Latvian territory, so it is even more unlikely that a Latvian who did happen to have a surname migrated to England and then further to Newfoundland. It is probable that the Uden/Youden connection you’re talking about is in regards to a completely unrelated Uden name used in the Netherlands.

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