Field shoes

Tovah Feldshuh’s name came up in Cafe Society. I have this ‘thing’ about translating names. For example, ‘Messerschmidt’ in English would be ‘Cutler’. So when I saw ‘Feldshuh’, I immediately thought ‘field shoe’.

Given that the surname is probably older than Addidas and Puma and Nike, I’m guessing a field shoe is a shoe worn in the fields. But farmers would probably wear boots, right? And if people had proper shoes, they wouldn’t be out in the fields with them? Were field shoes a type of footwear that were not boots? Perhaps shoes with hobnails? Or were they something the gentry would wear on a hunt? (I always picture tall boots for that, too.)

So what’s a ‘field shoe’? How did ‘Field Shoe’ become a surname?

Perhaps they are wooden shoes, as Dutch peasants used to use(or might still) when farming in muddy fields?

Who is he? or she? Jewish, or Israeli, or of Hebrew ancestry?

“Tovah” is Hebrew ( טוֹבָה ) for “good”, feminine singular.

According to this, it might also be of Old Norse or Swedish derivation.

(Not sure where they got all those extra connotations in the translations shown here. In Hebrew, AFAIK, it just means “good”.)

From German Wikipedia: Feldschuh.

Apparently means “army boot”. I imagine it’s originally a soldier’s (taken) surname.

So her name means ‘Good Army Boots’? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the German link.

Yo mamma [del]wears[/del] is combat boots! :smiley:

Who the hell would take the name, “Army boot”? :dubious:

Caligula did.

I believe such things were quite common in the ol’ days of the 30-year war, and even much later. Remember, most people didn’t have a surname back then (they were known as “Johann, son of the miller in Ratzberg” or "Johann, he who lives next to the church "). So, when they entered the military service, the officers simply gave them some short and concise name, often related to military paraphernalia, to discern them from oneanother. And, as they got used to them, they tended to keep them even after discharge.
And a lot of them didn’t speak German, at least not as their mother tongue. To a Czech or Polish conscript, the word “Feldschuh” wouldn’t have sounded stranger than any random assembly of syllables.

I think you’ll find the shoe/boot distinction isn’t as clear-cut as you seem to assume.

This. Until relatively modern times, boot referred specifically to footwear used by riders - to say that someone was “booted” or “booted up” was to say that he was prepared for a journey - so the shoe/boot distinction revolved around not so much what each looked like, but what each was for. In a military context, cavalry troops would have worn boots, but infantry troops would have worn shoes.

But the same distinction wouldn’t necessarily hold good in German/Yiddish. So Feldschuh/Feldshuh doesn’t necessary refer to a field shoe as particularly distinguished from a boot. We should remember that the German word handschuh means a glove, so the ultimate root of the word shoe could be some Germanic word meaning something like covering, protection.

So Feldschuh probably means something like footwear intended for use in, or actually used in, the field. And that could be the field in either the agricultural or military sense. The first person to bear the surname may, as speculated above, have had it assigned to him on enlistment in some army. Or, he may have been so called because, in distinction from even poorer neighbours, he owned and used a pair of feldschuhe.

I thought it was “Little Boots”.
But anyway, you see how he turned out. :dubious:

As a side note: the Swedish surname Fältskog has always seemed strange to me. What, in God’s name, is a field-forest? Now I get it! It’s a simple mistranslation (or mistranscription) of Feldschuh!

That was the distinction I was trying to make.