In 1925, a Thai man with the improbable name Lleieusszuieusszesszes Willihiminizisteizzii Hurrizzissteizzii immigrated to the U.S. via San Francisco.
(He might have been deported a few months later, thanks to an arson conviction. If so, it didn’t stop him from coming back.)
While here, he went by “Leo Ward” socially. But his bizarre legal name still attracted a good bit of attention.
According to one news article, Leo was born in Bangkok on November 20, 1911. That would have made him 14 in 1925.
In the U.S. he held various jobs, including: “fourth cook” (a.k.a. dishwasher) on the Omaha-Denver line of the Union Pacific Railroad, baker in New York, factory worker in Connecticut, and baker in Colorado.
Leo served in the military during WWII, and he died on May 17, 1945. He’s buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery. On his grave marker, his long name is abbreviated “L. W. Hurrizzissteizzii.”
He’s also listed in The Honor List of Dead and Missing for the State of Maine (pdf) on the page for Androscoggin County.
So far, I’ve found only one explanation of his name. It comes from a 1943 article about Leo losing his draft registration card:
“He is a very well spoken man,” Thomas A. Kilfoil, chief clerk of the [Selective Service] board recalled. “We had some very interesting talks. On one occasion he explained his name. It is a phonetic approximation of the Thai name given him at birth, which is a combination of symbols of birds and flowers. It is all birds and flowers.”
(From now on, whenever I encounter a name that befuddles me, I think I’ll just say: “It’s all birds and flowers.”)
Journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall wrote about Leo at his blog ZenJournalist earlier this year. His opinion (in the comments) is that Lleieusszuieusszesszes Willihiminizisteizzii Hurrizzissteizzii “is obviously not a Thai name, unless it was transliterated using a very peculiar method.”
Two other commenters wondered why Leo had multiple names, as Thai citizens had only recently (1913) been required to adopt surnames. Before that, most used just one name.
And…that’s pretty much all I’ve got on Mr. Hurrizzissteizzii, the Thai man with the suspiciously un-Thai-like name.
If anyone out there can shed any more light on the man and/or his name, please leave a comment!
- “Long Handle.” Evening Independent 22 Aug. 1942: 2.
- “Long Name Is Useful to Draft Card Loser.” Montreal Gazette 20 Oct. 1943: 4.
- “Man With Longest Name Will Be Deported to Siam?” New York Times 25 Sept. 1925.
- “Just Call Me “Leo.”” Union Pacific Bulletin 1940.
- US War Department. The Honor List of Dead and Missing for the State of Maine. June 1946.