As you may know, the name of the former Connecticut governor, U.S. Senator, Aetna president, and Baseball Hall of Famer Morgan Bulkeley is often pronounced two ways: BULK-lee and BUCK-lee. Only one is correct: BULK-lee.
I spoke to Bulkeley’s great-grandson, Morgan G. Bulkeley IV, who told me BULK-lee is the correct way to pronounce his family name and everyone in the family says it that way and always has. The Bulkeley Bridge and Bulkeley High School are named after the late governor, and those are both pronounced BULK-lee. There is some belief that the bridge is BULK-lee and the school is BUCK-lee, but the authority on the pronunciation says that is not true.
So why do so many people pronounce it the incorrect way? For some, BULK-lee may be difficult to say. People who mispronounced the name in 1925 then taught their children this wrong way, and then those children passed it on to the next generation, and so on. If you grow up being told that is how to pronounce it, you believe it. That’s why I often hear “my mother went to Bulkeley and she pronounced it BUCK-lee, and they are vehement in their defense of the incorrect pronunciation.