I ran across an article at Function Web Design that was written a few weeks ago. It discusses the conundrum of starting a new company in the Internet age. Everybody must have an online presence nowadays, particularly companies. Varud.com is a domain I bought a long time ago because it was available and I knew when I noticed it that I should snap it up.
It's based on an old family name which according to lore means 'Good Earth' in Danish. I haven't been able to confirm that although it does appear to have some Danish entries in Google and it appears to have some Indian meaning as well. Please comment if you know more about this.
The irony is that when my great great grandfather came to the country, his last name was 'Nelson' (or some variation thereof) - and so was everybody else's. If you look in a phone book in the Minnesota/North Dakota/Montana region where my mother's family is from, you'll notice how many Nelsons (and Olsons for that matter) there are. Anyway, in an attempt to differentiate, my predecessors had to do the same thing people are doing today; they had to come up with an identity that would differentiate themselves.