George Armstrong Custer - surname pronunciation

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
I have a friend with the surname Custer; he insists on pronouncing it as "kooster".

Is this how the famous G.A. Custer himself would have pronounced his surname? It makes me wonder what else people in historic America might have pronounced differently from us.

Upon his arrival in America in 1861, the British journalist William H. Russell remarked upon the 'Hibernianized English' he heard spoken everywhere he went. 19th Century America must have been a land full of accents, most of them either dead or less flavorful in the modern era.
 

R5 plus

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
3,787
Home of Ringing Rocks
I've no idea. I'm gonna guess no.

In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Custer trying to pronounce Sacajewea's name is my favorite part of the whole movie - practically ROFL every time. Her reaction is priceless. :lol:
 

beorna

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
17,473
-
I have a friend with the surname Custer; he insists on pronouncing it as "kooster".

Is this how the famous G.A. Custer himself would have pronounced his surname? It makes me wonder what else people in historic America might have pronounced differently from us.

Upon his arrival in America in 1861, the British journalist William H. Russell remarked upon the 'Hibernianized English' he heard spoken everywhere he went. 19th Century America must have been a land full of accents, most of them either dead or less flavorful in the modern era.
It is a german name, so the really pronunciation would be Cüster/Küster, with "ü".:)
 

HistoryFreak1912

Ad Honorem
Apr 2009
4,428
Alabama, USA
I always pronounced it as Cus (as in the word 'cuss') and 'ter'.

Cus-ter.

Though funny thing, the guy had trouble pronouncing his own middle name, 'Armstrong'. I found that somewhat silly. I mean, it isn't exactly a long complicated name to pronounce. It's just the words 'arm' and 'strong' together. If it were George Kerfuthuvikelson Custer, then I would give him a pass. :D
 

jegates

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,421
OH to VA back to OH
I always pronounced it as Cus (as in the word 'cuss') and 'ter'.

Cus-ter.

Though funny thing, the guy had trouble pronouncing his own middle name, 'Armstrong'. I found that somewhat silly. I mean, it isn't exactly a long complicated name to pronounce. It's just the words 'arm' and 'strong' together. If it were George Kerfuthuvikelson Custer, then I would give him a pass. :D

He did have trouble...when he was a toddler. Even names like Richard are tough when you 2 or 3. His family nickname was Autie since, as a 2 year old he trouble pronouncing Armstrong.
 

jegates

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,421
OH to VA back to OH
From what I have read, when the family came over from Germany it was as Beorna states...gradually it came to be as PM96 points out.

I believe a lot of names (spelling and pronunciations) changed over the years.
 

HistoryFreak1912

Ad Honorem
Apr 2009
4,428
Alabama, USA
From what I have read, when the family came over from Germany it was as Beorna states...gradually it came to be as PM96 points out.

I believe a lot of names (spelling and pronunciations) changed over the years.
His family came from Germany? I didn't know that!

And I was giving ol' Custer a hard time with the name-thing. xD I can understand that a toddler might have difficulties with longer names. 'Autie' does sound like a cutesy name to call him, but I prefer 'Custie-Cust' better. :lol:
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
5,023
Pillium
Names often get screwed around with, sometimes even within the lifetime of the person involved.

George Everest, after whom the big mountain is named, pronounced his surname to rhyme with 'See the rest' with a long ee to start.