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Monday, March 29, 2010

What's in a name?

For Staci-  I'm sure you're wheels are turning already, but you'll be needing 2 more of these, right?  Lucky girl!

Names.  This weekend I filled out our census form.  I proudly wrote down all 8 of our names.  10 years ago when I filled out the last census form, there were only 5 names.  It made me think about all the census information I'd been looking at recently, tracing back our ancestry.  You see, I've been determined to put in writing all the names and dates of both Papa's and my family for the kiddos to have in one place.  I did not intend to start a linage project that stretched back centuries.  I just wanted to get it all written down in one place.  However, I quickly found myself consumed and distracted... wondering about these names and all the people... my people.  A few of these folks, I have had the wonderful privilege of knowing and loving.  But so so many others were just names, and this forever-lost information has my head swirling.  Who were these people?  What were their families like?

In the end, if you're lucky, all you get is names and dates.  Maybe a picture.

The names consumed me.

How did she do it with 17 children?  What was it like to bury a husband while carrying his baby?  How can you bury not one child but several and still carry on?  Did he marry again so quickly just to have someone to take care of those kiddos?  Is that wrong?  Who woulda thunk I had SO many generations of ancestors in North Carolina?  Under what circumstances would a 15 year old girl be boarding a room in a family home?  What does a woman think as she weds her 2nd husband in just as many years?  What is it like to reflect back on a life of nearly a century?

These lonesome dates and names swirled together, and my imagination wanted so deperately to fill in the voids.

Some of my kiddo's names are family names and some are not.  Sunny's middle name, Kathleen, is similar and reminds us of Papa's mom's middle name, Kathreen.  Livy's middle name, Rose, is also a dear sweet family friend.  Patch and Boo and the 3rd generation of brothers with their first names.  Both Jujube and Tess have middle names that are both of our grandparent's middle names, David and Elizabeth.  Over time and now with the passing of all of my grandparents, I've come to appreciate family names so very much.

The following are first and middle names that I ran across while doing my ancestry search.  I so wish I had this list when I was naming my own children.  Hmmmmmmm...
  • Elizabeth
  • Benjamin
  • Peter
  • David
  • Patrick
  • Dennis
  • Harper
  • Caroline
  • Queenie
  • Winniefred
  • Emogine
  • Gaynell
  • Amyas (female-not sure how to pronounce that one!)
  • Patience
  • Shadrach (2 of 'em!  Gotta love me some Shadrach's!  I'm really really liking this name and it's biblical reference.)
  • Belle (1800's)
  • Fanny
  • Sarah Jane Jennie (Can't you just imagine that she was always happy?)
  • Callie Bird
  • Eula Mae
  • Tennessee Hill (born in Tennessee of course)
  • Fannie Missouri (1800's born not in Missouri but in Illinois)
  • Laura Kansas  (Also NOT born in Kansas but born in Nth Carolina.  Do you just love the state names?  I wonder why they didn't do this for the boys?)
  • Martha Patsy
  • Mary Mercy
  • March
  • June
  • August
  • Myles
  • Marguite
  • Margarita
  • Mercedes
  • Maggie
  • Mattie
  • Hattie
  • Harriette
  • Rhonda
  • Charlotta
  • Orinda
  • Bethena
  • Bedilia
  • Delilah
  • Delia
  • Lenna
  • Lousia
  • Clarissa
  • Lula
  • Moses (many more than I would have guessed)
  • Horace
  • Jincy
  • Greenwood
  • Guy
  • Gideon
  • Jane Grey (from NC not ENGland)
  • Johanna, Johannes and Johanns (many more then I wanted count!)
  • Josephine
  • Jonas
  • John Pott (6 continuous generations)
  • Absolom
  • Valentine
  • Hannah Goode (born mid 1600's in Pennsylvania--how sterotypical?!)
  • Ebenezer (many many more than I would've thunk)
  • Otwell
  • Leonhardt
  • & 3 brothers named George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin

Not that I have a child to name, but what do you think of...
  • Shadrach Leonhardt for a boy?
  • or Lula Valentine for a girl?
So many possibilities!  

I knew that my own given name, Nancy, was a family name.  It is my mother's name as well.  But I was totally unaware that it had been passed down from mother to daughter uninterrupted for at least 7 generations!  I lose the trail after 7 generations so it could be even more, but so far the line of Nancy's goes back to the 1780's.  I'm feeling SO guilty that I didn't name one of my 3 daughters Nancy!  I've asked Livy if she would take Nancy as a second middle name, and she agreed.  Actually I asked Sunny first, but she wasn't too hot on the idea.  I really think we'll have Livy's name legally changed.  Is that wrong?

So because she is the one who agreed to be the 8th in a long line of Nancy's, here is my Livy Rose Nancy!  She says her hair is really cute in this photo!  I couldn't agree more!

6 comments:

  1. Those names are amazing!!! I think Shadrach would feel lonely without a Mishack and an Abednego. :)

    I love the Lula. Andrew proposed Jonas this time around.

    Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am SO loving Shadrack too! Great nicnames for it too. There were 2 generations of it! But yes, without Mishack and an Abednego, it does seem lost or incomplete.
    Jonas? Nice ring! So close to Jujube's name too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really cool post. How did you go about finding all of this info? Family members? Something online? Library? I'm starting to feel guilty that I didn't use my mom's name (who was named after her mom). I was young! I didn't know any better!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the French-Canadian names of my bloodlines: Bernadette, Celina, Arthur, Joseph, Delia, Honore, Hermias, Josephine, Malvina, Frederique, Ulderic, Ulde, Fabienne, Romeo, Juliette....that's off the top of my head. I should sit and write them all down some time with my 103-year old great aunt. Beatrice was my mother's middle name. You should see the smiles on senior citizen's faces when they ask her name and I give it to them. The feel such joy and relief that one of "the strong names" is continuing on!

    ReplyDelete
  5. BTW, my church has one of the most comprehensive geneology search engines and records in the world. I know a lot of folks from church who are HUGE on geneology - though I haven't taken the plunge myself I've heard it's wildly addicting and fulfilling. All their search engines and records are accessible for free. I can find out more if you are ever interested.

    ReplyDelete
  6. what great family names! seriously, mine are nothing like that. mostly beulahs and bufords i think. maybe i'll do some digging.

    i want to be named callie bird! seriously!

    if mateo had been a girl, we were serious about the name lola valentine. :) love valentine as a middle.

    ReplyDelete

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