It makes me happy when I have something in common with a famous person whom I admire. And nothing could make me happier than sharing something with Ludwig van Beethoven. The great Beethoven was born (probably) 239 years ago today. (The only surviving record is of his baptism, which occurred on December 17; many biographies count that day as his birthday). His proud parents promptly bestowed on him the name Ludwig, and that is what I share with the composer.
The name Ludwig has a proud and storied lineage, beginning with the Frankish king Clovis I. Clovis (466-511) was the first ruler of the Germanic Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes. Clovis conquered Gaul, laying the groundwork for the foundation of the French nation, and converted to Catholicism, becoming a protector of the papacy. Clovis's name in the original Frankish was Chlodovech, meaning "praised warrior". That name, through linguistic evolution and variation, gave birth to Ludwig, Lodovico, Luigi, Louis, and Aloysius, which begot Alois. The name Alois has a long history in my own family, going back at least five generations. My great-grandfather Mazur was named Alois, as was my grandfather Mazur and my father. (Interestingly, my mother's father also had this fairly uncommon name.) After my father's generation, the name has been passed along as a middle name to me, to my son Andy, and to at least one of his cousins.
So on Beethoven's birthday, lets take some time and get wiggy with Ludwig.
[Note: Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray, who did this magnificent skit, are both still alive, approaching 90.]