And How do you pronounce YOUR name?

A while back, I asked:

"How do all you American cousins pronounce your name?"

Jons query reminded me and I've come across people in my researching that are listed as "Chertain", etc. and can, from other information, confirm that this is bad spelling by the local priest and all. But even my mum ( an Anglophone ) can remember local anglos pronouncing the name as "Yartin".

I don't know how to write the phonetic pronounciation of our name, but I'll give it a try. Can you do the same?

I would imagine the closest sound in French (although I have heard different French pronounciations) would be:
"Guerre" (like the French word for "war") and the English word "taint" without the final "t". (There's a nasal sound in French at the end that makes it like "tay", and definitely not like "rain")
It also depends on whether I'm giving my name to an Anglophone or a Francophone. I don't imagine there's many Baxters with that problem!
Here's what I got:
The line is so far back in my children's ancestry that I have not heard someone with that name pronounce it. I was using the Guerre-taint (silent t) as you suggested. However, it is interesting that I have found in the Loiselle index and other records in Quebec the spellings Yertin, Hyertain, etc. making me wonder about the variation in pronounciation even in Quebec among Francophones. Then once they emigrated across the border into Anglophone territory, they must have faced even more variations.

What I find interesting is that the Guertins seemed to have missed out on the usual variants due to dit names. Although Louis Guertin from France was dit Le Sabotier (sabot or shoe maker) the name did not seem to be carried on past him. I also have not noticed any other dit names other than the spelling variations until the Guertins crossed the border and in Jon's case became Yettaws.


My mother's family has pronounced the name Gertin, with the hard -g- and -tin- like tin can. It's even spelled Gertin in the 1880 census listing for the family.

I have heard it pronounced Gairtan (like guerre + tan), but that's usually only when we're goofing around with the French sounds. Though I've contacted some Guertins online, I've never met another who wasn't a family member, so I don't know how others pronounce it.


We pronounce Guertin; "Grrrrrr" (like a dog) "teen" (like a teenager), although I've always been told the French (don't ask me who the French are?) pronounce it "Grrrrr" "Ta" (like the English Ta Ta). Finally I know some Guertin's here in Michigan pronounce it "Grrrrr" "Tin" (like the metal). I don't know where our pronunciation came from, or when they moved off the original French pronunciation, but I'm sure United States Customs Officials had a lot to do with it, as they did years ago with most immigrant names.


Here is a simple way for coming up with the "right" pronunciation for the name "Guertin" both in English and in French.

I suggest you think of "tin" as in the name "Martin" which is commonly used both in English and in French. Now you only need to replace the "Mar" prefix with "Guer". Only a few words in English start with "Guer"; there is for example the word "Guernsey". If you wish to give the name a more French pronunciation you think of the prefix "Guer" as in the word "guerrilla".

Born and raised in Quebec, having lived in Boston for a few years and now living in Ontario, I have found that using the above examples could make the name better understood both in the USA and in Canada.


I am sure that over the years there have been many pronounciations. The name Yettaw is currently pronounced as it is spelled ie "Yet" and "Taw". I strongly suspect it was once pronounced as "Yea" and "Taa" with the "a" as long or short. I have been told that this could very well have been the pronounciation of Guertin as the G, R, and N were typically silent and and more of an accent sound. I have found many families in the Maine and NH area with various spellings of Eattaw, Yetter, and Yattaw and most who have done genealogy on their own families find a connection to the Guertin family. Considering the lack of desire of Americans to learn the correct spelling of the French immagrants from Canada I suspect whatever was written was what was heard by the immagration officials. In my family I have found spelling of "Guertin" on records even after the Yettaw documentation.


We pronounce it "Grrrrrrrrr" (like a dog) and "tin" (like the metal).

I've seen it as Hiertin and Hiartin in the church repertories particularly around 1800, which I took as a pronunciation clue rather than a misspelling. Put together with what we know from Jon and it seems to indicate the name was pronounced with an aspirate "h" or a "y" as in yes sound.


(My) mother (nee Eva Tetreault whose mother was Olivine Guertin) used to pronounce Guertin as GUR - TIN.


Well, here is what we say: GUER as in guerilla, TEEN as in teen.

If one syllable receives more emphasis than the other, it is the latter. Much of the time, emphasis is about equal.

Here in Minnesota, where there is a fair-sized pocket of Guertins, the pronunciation of choice seems to be GERtin. HEAVY emphasis on GER - the "tin" a mere throw-away. My sister and I had lunch last week with an infrequently-seen cousin, originally from Kankakee but who has been living here for twenty years, and he almost wept when he heard us say Guer-teen - he was so fed up with being called GERtin.

When I was growing up, I remember being told that the correct French pronunciation would be something like GARE-TAA (as in AACK! ). On Chicago schoolyards, however, where every other little girl's middle name was Sue or Lee or Jane, I had enough explaining to do with GUER-TEEN.