Saturday, 10 February 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 6 - Favourite Name

Quoting Shakespeare, 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.' (Romeo and Juliet). However the names chosen for family members can cause many challenges when doing family history research.

When I first did the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge in 2014, at the 26 week mark I wrote a short post about the family naming patterns to that point.

As an update to that post, of the 52 people chosen for that project Sarah and Anne / Anne / Annie were the most common female names, each used four times. There were three ancestors in that list named Mary, and two named Catherine, Agnes or Jane. The most unusual name was Keziah.

George and William plus John / Joshua were the most popular male names, each appearing four times as a first name. Henry and Simeon appeared three times, while two ancestors  in the list were named Charles.

There are some names you would expect to be difficult to locate. I do have a third great grandfather named John Smith! Fortunately my second great grandfather had a more distinctive name - Charles Septimus Smith - which eased some of the pain when searching this branch of the family.

Looking at the family tree in general it is interesting to see how families stuck to naming patterns. An example is Simeon Lord. You would think with an ancestor named Simeon Lord there would be relatively easy to locate his family, especially as I knew the family lived in the small community of Todmorden in England. Unfortunately the extended Lord family also lived in the region near Todmorden and each branch of the family in the eighteenth century appear to have had a son named Simeon. Just one of the challenges of family history research.

In another branch of the family tree the name Eleanora or Eleonora is a family name used through the generations. This branch of the family tree can be traced back to the Plantagentets where Eleanor was also often used. My great aunt was Eleonora Ruby Hutton and I remember my grandmother telling us that her sister was the eleventh Eleonora / Eleanora in the family. This is another theory that I should explore further.

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