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What kind of a name is “Arne?”

“Arne” is a Norwegian name.  English speakers usually pronounce it as one syllable, ignoring the “e” on the end.  This name was given to me by my mother.  The Nazis invaded her hometown in Norway when she was a child.  When she grew up, she married an American soldier stationed in Europe during the Cold War.  They later moved to the United States, where I was born.  “Leonard” is my last name, not my first name.  My father’s branch of the Leonard family has been traced back to ironworkers who emigrated to the New England colonies from England and Wales in the Seventeenth Century.  They brought with them a new technology for making iron from iron ore that their predecessors developed in France and Belgium in the Fifteenth Century.  Their surname was likely derived from Saint Leonard de Noblac, a Sixth Century forest hermit whose church in southern France was a popular pilgrimage site during medieval times.  Saint Leonard is often depicted freeing people from iron bars or chains, because he is a patron saint of prisoners.

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