When I was a young boy, I asked my dad about the origin of our last name. He wasn’t sure and guessed that it must have come from someone long ago who made wheels. That is about as uninteresting as me saying I’m an accountant who does taxes.
The actual origin is a little more exciting than what is often depicted as prehistoric man’s first invention. I did a Google* search for information about the Wheeler family and found “The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America.” This book, published in 1914, gives a well-researched explanation:
The third striking point is the meaning of the name “Wheeler” itself. For this, it is evident, determination must be made from the earliest form on record. How significant is this early appearance has been mentioned, a fact all the more remarkable when it is remembered that surnames do not appear in general use until the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This early spelling “Wielher” is evidently a compound of two Anglo-Saxon words “wel” or “wiel” meaning “prosperous” or “fortunate,” from which derivation the modern word “weal” and “wealth” may be traced; and the Anglo-Saxon word “hari” or “heri” a warrior, a root traceable in the modern word “hero.” The present spelling of the family name “Wheeler,” therefore, is a spelling of words which in their modern form would be “Weal-Hero” or in the Anglo-Saxon words “wel-hari.” The meaning of the family name therefore is clearly “the lucky warrior,” or “the prosperous hero.”
I could use the origin of my name to more creatively explain what I strive to do as a CPA: I share my expertise to empower prosperous (successful) heroes (business owners).
*I typed one of my ancestor’s names into Google and got 11,900 results in three-tenths of a second. Search technology is one that I’ve taken for granted, but my ancestor who lived 150 years ago would have been impressed.