Category: family tree names
My love for genealogy came from my interest in discovering names I had never heard before. There is something special about being able to connect yourself to a rare gem of a name, and being able to connect that name to your ancestor’s history.
In addition to individual names, there are also some interesting patterns I’ve noticed while researching the branches of my various family trees. Some eras favored word names while others preferred patriotic names. Some branches were filled with unique names, while others stuck with the more traditional. One trend I’ve noticed is that “sibset” naming wasn’t considered until the 20th century. There often seemed to be a wide variety of names among siblings, yet, it wasn’t strange to have two sons named Joseph or three daughters named Elizabeth.
Let’s face it: We all have embarrassing names in our family trees. Great Aunt Hortense and Uncle Myron, Grandma Gladys and Dad Brad. They’re the family names we hope we won’t be expected to pass down to our children.
But hey, today we’re here to celebrate the wonderful names, and we all have those too. Searching through the family archives, you discover that your great-great-grandmother was named Marguerite or Flora, or that you have a handsome Henry or Nathaniel among your forebears. Or it might be a surname or a middle name you discover that’s worth polishing up and passing down: Callahan or Keene or Caruso.
So what’s the best name or names in your family tree? The names you’re actually excited about passing on to a child? And who and where did they come from?
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I love a family name.
It doesn’t matter if the family is the ruling house of a sovereign nation or the neighbors down the street. If you would like to tell me about the great names on your tree, I’m all ears.
So when my aunt mentioned that she had inherited boxes of old family photos from her mother, my grandmother, I immediately volunteered to sort through them and upload information to a genealogy website as we worked.
Aided by wine and technology, we delved into three huge bins.
It was thrilling to discover pictures of my ancestors – great-uncles and great-grandparents as children, other photos from so far in the past that we determine exactly who was in the picture.
But the biggest thrill for me was discovering so many great names. I’d always thought that there wasn’t much excitement, name-wise, on my dad’s family tree.
I was so wrong.
It’s one of the biggest problems parents-to-be complain about on the Nameberry forums: family pressure over the choice of a name.
If not promoting their own or other relatives’ names, family members might just exercise what they see as their right to voice strong, uh, opinions about names. Ugh, you can’t name your son Felix: That’s a cat’s name!
Or was your family blessedly pressure-free on the topic of names? Or maybe you even tried to talk about names with them, and they weren’t interested?
Today’s Question of the Week concerns family names:
Would you use a name that’s the same as, or very similar to, one used by another family member?
Would it depend on the closeness of your relationship—is it different for a sister’s child than it is to a second cousin’s?