What's in a name?

What’s in a name?

You might well ask, “is your name really Snowball? Where did that come from?”

Why, yes. Yes, it is. It’s an old English name. Most genealogical sources say it derives from the Old English words “snaw” meaning “snow” and “bald” -bare. The “bald” might refer to a streak or lock of hair, or it may mean a bald patch. The surname therefore originated as a nickname for someone with a patch of white hair (think “Bride of Frankenstein”) or a pale bald patch, amid dark hair (maybe a tonsured monk).

The first recorded use is an entry for Robert Snawbal (1301) in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire county, England, during the reign of King Edward 1(1272 – 1307).  All of the other early records of the name also come from the north of England (Staffordshire and Lancashire, for example).

And yes, I am pretty much bald.

Why is the site called Mutual Fund Observer?

The name is the result of a collaborative effort among FundAlarm’s friends to find a name that was:

  • Easy to spell,
  • Easy to remember,
  • Descriptive, and
  • Still available as a dot-com.

We worked through a list of several dozen names, from the sharp-edged (FundAlert.com) to the whimsical (Don’t-invest-like-a-jackass.com). Almost all of the most promising names were taken, generally by resellers looking to charge substantial amounts (in one case, $25,000) for the right to one of the hundreds or thousands of names they’re squatting on.

In the end, Mutual Fund Observer best fit our mission and my temperament: solid, reliable, trustworthy, not trendy, not overblown, not sensationalistic.