Category Archives: Names

What’s In A Name?

Whats in a nameHave you ever wondered why a parent would name their child a certain name? I do all the time. However I am guilty of giving my children “different” names myself and I am asked why all the time. Researching my family’s history, I have discovered that I am not alone in this. I have a first cousin 5x removed born in 1803 North Carolina who was named Wiseman Fisherman Loving. I have tried to no avail to figure out why he was named this. Were his parents hoping that he would grow up to be a wise man and a great fisherman? Was his father drunk the day he was born and just spouted out the name? We may never know.

PeregrineWhiteRock

My 9th Great Grandfather born in England in 1616 was named Resolved White. He came to America aboard the Mayflower with his Father William and pregnant Mother Susanna in    1620. I can only assume he was named this because his father was “Resolved” to make it to the New World. His younger brother was the first child born from those on the Mayflower and he was born on board the ship in Plymouth Harbor. His parents named him “Peregrine”!                                                           Do you suppose the first thing his mother saw after giving birth was a Peregrine Falcon?

William Brewster hsMy other Mayflower Ancestor, my 10th Great Grandfather William Brewster was also born in England in 1567 and traveled aboard the Mayflower with his wife Judith and 6 of his 9 children. My 9th Great Grandfather was named Jonathan, a very common name. However, the last 4 children born were named Love, Patience, Fear and Wrestling! William Brewster was a Protestant who along with others of his faith had to flee to Holland to escape persecution from the King of England. Perhaps he named his children after the struggles he was having before coming to America. He must have experienced Love, Fear, Patience and Wrestling while making the important decision to come to the New World.

There are some names I just can’t figure out. Like my Great Grandmother Asenath Walt born 1863 in Missouri. Was hers a family name? I haven’t found any evidence of that. Was it a popular name during that time? Who knows?  My 4th Great Grandfather Axel Heath Page was born 1785 in Virginia. Was he named for a wheel Axel?

As for my own children at least I can give an explanation for their names.   My oldest son is

Dad at 18

Douglas Age 18

named John Pleasant after my Grandfather. Pleasant was my Great Grandfathers name so we called him “Pleasant” until he reached 18 years old and he decided to go by his initials. John Pleasant Smith was the only Grandparent I ever met so I named him in honor of this wonderful man. My youngest son is named Starr Douglas. My beloved father Douglas died when I was 19 years old so I wanted to name him after my dad. I also wanted his name to be unusual like his brothers. I couldn’t think of anything. When I was about 8 months pregnant I was watching TV and a Senator came on whose first name was Starr. I thought “Starr Douglas” …it fits! He is proud of his name and has lots of fun telling people “Yeah my Mom was a hippy” My daughter’s name is Jerusha Jane. The tradition in my family is my middle name is Jane, my mother’s name is Jane and the name goes back to a great-great Grandmother named Jane. Knowing my entire life that I was expected to name any girl I had by this name I thought of every possible combination of names and nothing sounded right to me. When I was 12 years old I went to see the movie “Hawaii” where Julie Andrews played a missionary’s wife and her name was Jerusha. Jerusha Jane I loved it. I had that named picked out for 10 years before I got to use it.

I love unusual names and finding a treasure trove of them among my Ancestors has been so much fun. How about you? Do you have unique names in your tree? Do you know why they were named that? Feel free to share those names and why they were named that with me! I would love to hear them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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