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Debbie Auld
Subject: Sonoma

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by Debbie Auld (aulds@worldnet.att.net)

I really don't have any comments. I am trying to figure out what the word Sonoma means and where it came from? I've been looking all over the net and I can't find out anything. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again for your time.

Debbie Auld

From: Bricejones@aol.com
Subject: Sonoma

Was an Indian Chief of the area, spelled "Tso Noma" meaning pretty big nose.
You're welcome.

Source ???

Common knowledge in the area. Why do you ask? (I can get another source if it's important).

Pretty Big Nose, Huh? God Bless You !!!

From: Cyd
Subject: Meaning of the word "Sonoma"

I sent a note to Debbie referencing "The Valley of The Moon" by Jack London. It mentions that the word Sonoma comes from a native American word meaning Valley of the Moon.

From: ChuckyW316@aol.com
Subject: Ref: Sonoma - What does it mean?

I read the travel page referring to the definition of Sonoma. We were planning to name our baby girl Sonoma. Please tell me it has another meaning than big nose! Can you check for us??????????????

My latest communication on the subject of the meaning of the word "Sonoma" ... and/or where it came from .... suggests I oughta contact "Unofficial" Sonoma County historian .... Gaye Le Baron

So ... I have this moment ... left a message on Gaye Le Barons Voice Mail .... seeking the definitive answer to the question .... Whereof Sonoma *???*

Aha ... a message on my voicemail from Pru Draper, Gaye LeBaron's Personal Assistant. They do have a column Gaye wrote on that very subject .... doesn't mean big nose, by the way, a copy is in the mail :)

The Meaning of The Word ... Sonoma
According to my reading of a Gaye Le Baron article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 12, 1995, there are several stories of the meaning of Sonoma that have been passed down through the years.
    According to a booklet published by the American Trust Company bank titled "Colorful California Names, their meaning and history." the most popular definitions include:
  • "Valley of the Moon" ... disseminated by resident writer Jack London in his book of the same name.
  • "Valley of the Many Moons" ... or "Valley of the Seven Moons" ... because an Indian riding a pony starting at moonrise at the edge of San Pablo Bay would see seven moons on his trip north to Santa Rosa.
  • Chief Big Nose .... Here to welcome the Mexican padres when they arrived in 1823 to build their mission.
Gaye, however, tells of a Santa Rosa linguist, Earl Couey, whose wife Jane is a Wappo Indian, which tribe lived along the eastern edge of what is now Sonoma County. He is a consultant to the Wappo Tribal Council and he "KNOW's" what Sonoma means.

Sonoma ... The "noma" is a place, a town or village. The "tso" sound makes it a more important community, "earth place," or "world place," a sort of "Center of the Universe," feeling.

Now there's a definition a Sonoman can sink their teeth into :)


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