Why it’s Susie and not Suzie

Susie and FussyMore people spell my first name wrong than get it right! I can understand that because I generally sign off my emails as ‘Susie Z’ and of course my surname starts with a ‘Z’ [Zada] so people have ‘Z’ in their mind.  I’m a forgiving person and as my adored Grandpa used to say … “as long as they don’t call us late for dinner”.

But people spelt it with a Z in the 20 years before I acquired that name by marriage so the ‘Z’ in the surname might be an excuse but not the reason.

I thought if I explained HOW I got the ‘S’ and not the ‘Z’ in my first name might help people understand.

It all began way back in 1944 when my Mum’s baby sister was born.  Jan [Janette] caused quite a stir in the family because there was 20 years between Jan and Mum – in other words she wasn’t quite expected.  Subsequently things happened a little differently.  No name had been planned for the new baby so Mum and her older brother were given the task.  How did they choose it?  From the list of girls names in Cole’s Funny Picture Book.  Blindfolded and armed with a pin – it landed on Janette – and Jan cursed them throughout their lives as she wasn’t at all keen on her name!

Coles Funny Picture BookFast forward to 1950 when my older brother was born – out came the Cole’s Funny Picture Book!  Mum & Dad agreed that if it was a boy Dad’s pin would be the first name and Mum’s the second name.  And if it was a girl it was reversed.  So that’s how Graham John and Susanne Marie came about – well their names at least!  Oh – they’re the cute pair at the top of this blog!

Sadly we don’t have the book anymore and I have no idea which edition / number it was – there were many editions published over the years.

As an avid family historian I was devastated to learn that I wasn’t named after any of my ancestors – that was until I did a lot more research!  My Mum’s maiden name was NIALL and here’s what I’ve found for the oldest girl in four generations:

  • Susanne NIALL born c.1728
  • Susanna Maria NIALL born 10 Sep 1752
  • Susanna NIALL born 13 Oct 1780
  • Susan NIALL born 12 Apr 1812

My Family Tree and my Ancestor Arrivals Web site and Blog

So who was really guiding Mum’s pin?


  1. I know we’re all human and human’s make mistakes – including me! But generally we try not to make mistakes – one thing I try VERY hard to do is to spell people’s name(s) correctly. When I apply for a job I triple-check spelling – NOT using a spell-checker – to make sure I have organisation names, titles and people’s names spelt correctly. I am putting a huge effort into applying for jobs and yesterday I received yet another “Dear John” rejection letter. These are always disheartening to receive but even more so when they’re addressed to SUZIE! My email, application letter, and cv all had SUSIE but nope – the rejection letter was SUZIE. I’m sorry but that really upsets me when they couldn’t even make the effort to spell my name correctly.


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